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Open for everyone
- 20:00 CRI Amphitheatre

Sciences in Context: Gender identity & the appeal of the brain (Sahar Sadjadi)

Sciences in Context: Gender identity & the appeal of the brain (Sahar Sadjadi)

Sahar Sadjadi

Fellow at the Paris Institute for Advanced Study

Research project: The Brain, Authenticity and Pediatric Gender Transition

CRI Amphitheatre, May 28, 2019, 18:30–20:00.

Sciences in Context is a new public lecture series aiming to bring concepts and perspectives from the frontiers of the humanities to the CRI community.

Each lecture takes place on the last Tuesday of the month featuring fellows from CRI and from the Institut d'Études Avancées (IEA) de Paris.

Lecture topics will be discussed in an open session of the Practical Philosophy Club on the Friday before each lecture, to facilitate an active and participatory discourse with the invited speaker.


Based on an ethnographic study of psychiatric and endocrine practices around childhood gender variance in the United States, Dr. Sadjadi explores the contemporary cultural attachment to entities such as the brain as the origin of identity and to children as harbingers of authenticity. The lecture questions the assumption that it is the appeal of nature and biology that underlies the turn to the brain as the location for the origin of identity.

This lecture will discuss how cultural conceptions of the body and the soul, and modern accounts of the self as interiority and psychic depth shape clinical practices around childhood gender transition.


Sahar Sadjadi is a Fellow at the Paris Institute for Advanced Study. She studied medicine at Tehran University, worked as a physician in Kurdistan, Iran and received her PhD in medical anthropology from Columbia University. She was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies, The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research has been funded by Wenner-Gren Foundation, National Science Foundation and Brocher Foundation.

Her research focuses on Anthropology of science and medicine; the body and temporality; gender and identity; sexuality; childhood; materialism; multi-sited ethnography.

This lecture series is organized by Muriel Mambrini, Pascal Kolbe, Johannes Jaeger and Kelly Gibbs in collaboration with the Institut d'Études Avancées de Paris.