Nima Bassiri


Nima Bassiri works on the history and philosophy of the human sciences and medicine, with a particular emphasis on the mind and brain sciences since the eighteenth century. His current research focuses on the role neurological discourse has played in the historical and conceptual refashioning of the self throughout the nineteenth century, particularly in terms of how it augmented and transformed earlier, classical conceptions of personal identity. His book manuscript, Pathologies of Personhood: Madness and Personal Identity in the History of Brain Medicine, examines the historical origins of the neurological consolidation of personhood, while also responding to recent debates within STS scholarship concerning the role the neurosciences and clinical psychiatry have played throughout the past several decades in defining (and redefining) selfhood. Articles related to his current book project have appeared in journals including Journal of the History of Ideas, Critical Inquiry, and Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Nima completed his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. Before coming to the University of Chicago, he was a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in the Center for the Humanities at Wesleyan University and an ACLS New Faculty Fellow at Duke University.

Selected Publications:

Plasticity and Pathology: On the Formation of the Neural Subject, eds. David Bates and Nima Bassiri, (Fordham University Press, 2015).

“Freud and the Matter of the Brain: On the Rearrangements of Neuropsychoanalysis,” Critical Inquiry 40, no.1 (2013): 83-108.

“The Brain and the Unconscious Soul in Eighteenth-Century Nervous Physiology: Robert Whytt’s Sensorium Commune,” Journal of the History of Ideas 74, no. 3 (2013): 425- 448.

“Material Translations in the Cartesian Brain,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2012): 244-55