Exploring the History of Normality: A Conversation with Tal Arbel
Historian of science Tal Arbel explores theories, techniques, and tools that were used to distinguish the normal from the pathological and the deviant for the past 200 years.
About the Event
Worrying about what’s normal and what’s not is an endemic feature of our culture. Is my IQ above average? What about my height? Should I be feeling this way? Is there a pill for that? People seem to have always been concerned with fitting in, but the way of describing the general run of practices and conditions as “normal” is a recent phenomenon; testament to the vast influence that modern science has on our lives.
Join us for a conversation with Tal Arbel, a historian of science at the University of Chicago’s Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, to explore theories, techniques, and tools that were used to distinguish the normal from the pathological and the deviant for the past 200 years.
Institute on the Formation of Knowledge
Tal Arbel is a cultural historian of science and medicine. Her primary research interests include the history of behavioral science and health, the sociology of expertise, and the politics of mental measurement. Her new book project, A Scientific Childhood, revisits the lives of children who served as subjects of observation and experiment from the 1880s to the 1950s, and whose childhood experiences had shaped the central tenets of developmental psychology, as well as our ideas about normality. She holds a PhD in History of Science from Harvard University.