Stahnisch, Frank W.

Frank W. Stahnisch is Associate Professor (AMF/Hannah Professorship in the History of Medicine and Health Care) at the University of Calgary, Alberta. His ongoing research focus is the history of neurology and psychiatry in the German-speaking countries during the first half of the 20th Century. This subject strongly impinges on questions of the cultural and political context of science and medicine, in particular the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. He is currently writing a second monograph on the development of interdisciplinary research programs and centers in the brain sciences of the German-speaking countries. This work also scrutinizes some of the ground-breaking scientific changes and knowledge-transfers that were brought about by the forced-migration of physicians and researchers from Central Europe after 1933. Frank W. Stahnisch has won the H. Richard Tyler Award of the American Association of Neurology (AAN) and the John J. Pisano Award of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his most recent scholarship. Between 2006 and 2008, he was Feodor Lynen-Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung (AvH) and worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the History of Medicine at the Department of Social Studies of Medicine at McGill University.  During the summer term of 2010, he was a Visiting Professor in the Department III ("Experimental Systems and Spaces of Knowledge") at the Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany.

Listing Details

Department of History, Social Sciences 656, 2500 University Drive N.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2N 1N4
Research Description
The Making of a New Research Field: On the Pursuit of Interdisciplinarity in the German Neuromorphological Sciences, 1910-1945 My current research, aiming for a monograph on "The making of a New Research Field: On the Pursuit of Interdisciplinarity in the German Neuromorphological Sciences, 1910-1945", is directed towards the developments of medicine and the brain sciences in the German-speaking countries during the first half of the 20th century. In particular, I am exploring the historiographical roles, narratives and epistemological meanings of concepts on “interdisciplinarity” in the neuroscientific community and its neighbouring areas (psychology, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and social medicine etc.) between 1910 and 1945. The project furthermore adds to the growing corpus of literature on German neuroscience and brain psychiatry in a time period, which has not caught as much awareness by historians of medicine and science, as it should have, in order to better understand the scientific, organisational, and cultural innovations, which also strongly determined the course of biomedical research after WWII. The current research projects therefore presents itself somewhat as archaeology of undoubtedly one of the most powerful “interdisciplinary” areas of the life sciences and as a historiographical attempt to explore and analyse the theoretical as well as cultural developments that have led to the development of the new research field of the neurosciences as we know them today. In focusing on the problem of interdisciplinarity in the neuromorphological sciences between 1910 and 1945, the impact of three different political and cultural systems (late German Imperialism, the experiment of Weimar Democracy and National Socialism) on the emergence and changes in the modern neurosciences can be profoundly scrutinized. The results of this project shall give further hints as to how important interdisciplinary work is perceived in the neurosciences and their research organisation. As such, it is of double importance to the historiographical, epistemological, philosophical, and methodological aspects of history of medicine and the science studies, and displays itself as a specific analysis of an important, yet hitherto neglected field in the historiography of international biomedical science.