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Normative Neurology: Disability and Teen Sexuality in the Decade of the Brain

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Abstract:

On July 17, 1990, through Presidential Proclamation 6158, United States President George Bush “proclaim[ed] the decade beginning January 1, 1990, as the Decade of the Brain.” Conjuring a triumphal story of medical exploration that might lead to “improved treatments” for disabilities such as paralysis, epilepsy, and depression, Bush linked neuroscience’s cultural value to the “war on drugs,” unborn children of drug- or alcohol-abusing mothers, and an enhanced understanding of AIDS. Thus, a better understanding about the functions and malfunctions of the brain would rehabilitate or cure other national ills, such as drug abuse, bad motherhood, and AIDS. Tracing how the “teen mind” of the postwar period becomes reimagined as the treatable “teen brain” at the end of the 20th century, this paper examines representations of adolescent physiology and psychology as they are represented in popular news media, and popular culture in order to historicize the way in which the teen mind/body have been pathologized and simultaneously configured as something “curable” by entrance into adulthood. This paper will analyze representations of the brain that appeared in Time and Life magazines and in PBS documentaries alongside television coverage of the Columbine tragedy and the television show, Life Goes On (1989-1993). While other scholars have analyzed the cultural significance of an ageless brain, this paper analyzes the cultural importance of the brain in the 1990s to trace the specific positionality of teenagers within the “decade of the brain” and to examine neuroscience’s relationship to discourses of national mental and bodily health within the critical valences of race, class, gender, and sexuality.
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Name: American Studies Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.theasa.net


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p244108_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Elman, Julie. "Normative Neurology: Disability and Teen Sexuality in the Decade of the Brain" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency, Albuquerque, New Mexico, <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p244108_index.html>

APA Citation:

Elman, J. P. "Normative Neurology: Disability and Teen Sexuality in the Decade of the Brain" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency, Albuquerque, New Mexico <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p244108_index.html

Publication Type: Internal Paper
Abstract: On July 17, 1990, through Presidential Proclamation 6158, United States President George Bush “proclaim[ed] the decade beginning January 1, 1990, as the Decade of the Brain.” Conjuring a triumphal story of medical exploration that might lead to “improved treatments” for disabilities such as paralysis, epilepsy, and depression, Bush linked neuroscience’s cultural value to the “war on drugs,” unborn children of drug- or alcohol-abusing mothers, and an enhanced understanding of AIDS. Thus, a better understanding about the functions and malfunctions of the brain would rehabilitate or cure other national ills, such as drug abuse, bad motherhood, and AIDS. Tracing how the “teen mind” of the postwar period becomes reimagined as the treatable “teen brain” at the end of the 20th century, this paper examines representations of adolescent physiology and psychology as they are represented in popular news media, and popular culture in order to historicize the way in which the teen mind/body have been pathologized and simultaneously configured as something “curable” by entrance into adulthood. This paper will analyze representations of the brain that appeared in Time and Life magazines and in PBS documentaries alongside television coverage of the Columbine tragedy and the television show, Life Goes On (1989-1993). While other scholars have analyzed the cultural significance of an ageless brain, this paper analyzes the cultural importance of the brain in the 1990s to trace the specific positionality of teenagers within the “decade of the brain” and to examine neuroscience’s relationship to discourses of national mental and bodily health within the critical valences of race, class, gender, and sexuality.


Similar Titles:
Neuroparenting, School Shooters, and Superpredators: The Disability Politics of the Teen Brain

Theorizing Sexual Agencies by Examining Sexual Orientation in Young Adult Literature: Gay and Bisexual Teen Girls Negotiate Dynamics of Sexual Power

Adolescents with Intellectual Disabilities with Sexualized Behvior - Determining Sexual Exploration vs. Sexual Exploitation


 
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