Frank W. Stahnisch
Professor in the History of Medicine and Health Care and in the History of Philosophy of Science at the University of Calgary
Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:June‒August 2016; May-August 2023
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»Great minds in despair ‒ the forced migration of German-speaking neuroscientists to North America, 1933‒1989«
My research project is situated at the vantage point, where the so-called »Brain Gain Thesis« has been put forward and widely discussed in the research literature regarding the development of modern neuroscience (here as one of several important examples of biomedical research) during the 20th century. This thesis is often understood in a rather uncritical way as the »growth« and »success« of scientific productivity in Anglo-Saxon countries since the Second World War, in particular due to the forced migration of Jewish and politically oppositional German scientists and doctors during the Third Reich. The research literature has all too often looked at the intellectual, academic and institutional dimensions of forced migration in medicine and science alone, yet all too rarely addressed the individual fate and adjustment problems of many émigré psychiatrists and neurologists - i.e. the cohort that builds the main subject of my historical investigations.
My research project focuses primarily on the group of émigré doctors and scientists who went to the USA and Canada, where most of them stayed even after the end of the Second World War. The thesis that I want to examine and critically discuss here refers in particular to the fact that the process of forced migration has often resulted in drastic challenges and changes in the career plans and prospects of the respective individuals. With a view to the examined historical data and sources, it is attempted to show that the »Brain Gain Thesis« needs to be significantly revised. Such a change of perspective affects both the methodology of understanding the internationalization of medical research as well as the methodology of forced migration studies.
During my time at the Bad Homburg Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (»Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften«), the (post-review) revision of my English book manuscript with the above-named title is envisaged - the manuscript has currently been submitted to a North American university press and is subject to an external peer review process. (Frank W. Stahnisch)
Research partner:Frank Stahnisch is a fellow at the Kolleg at the invitation of the Director of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften Matthias Lutz-Bachmann.His stay is sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
Scholarly profile of Frank W. Stahnisch Frank W. Stahnisch is a historian of medicine and neuroscience and has received his doctorate from the Free University of Berlin (Germany) in 2001. He holds the »Alberta Medical Foundation/Hannah Professorship in the History of Medicine and Health Care« at the University of Calgary (Canada) and is an Editor-in-Chief of the international Journal of the History of the Neurosciences as well as Associate Editor of Frontiers in Psychology.
Main areas of research:History and Philosophy of the Biomedical Sciences;
Development of Modern Physiology and Experimental Medicine;
History of Neuroscience and the History of Psychiatry;
Development of Modern Medical Visualization Practices.
- (with Lampard, J. Robert, Hogan, David B. and Wright, James R. Jr.), Creating the Future of Health: The History of the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, 1967-2012, Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2021.
- A New Field in Mind - A History of Interdisciplinarity in the Early Brain Sciences, Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2020.
- (ed. with Mansell, Diana and Larsson, Paula), Bedside and Community: 50 Years of Contributions to the Health of Albertans from the University of Calgary, Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2020.
- (ed. with Kurbegović), Psychiatry and the Legacies of Eugenics: Historical Perspectives on Alberta and Beyond, Athabasca: Athabasca University Press, 2020.
- (ed.), Émigré Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Cognitive Scientists in North America since the Second World War, Berlin, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, 2018.
- (ed. with Guel Russell), »New Perspectives on Forced-Migration in Neuroscience during the Twentieth Century«, in: A Special Issue of Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 25/3 (2016).
- (with Porter, Dorothy), Trading Zones and Boundary Work in the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities, Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press, 2015.
- (with Hoffmann, Thomas), Kurt Goldstein - Der Aufbau des Organismus. Einfuehrung in die Biologie unter besonderer Beruecksichtigung der Erfahrungen am kranken Menschen, Munich - Paderborn: Fink Verlag, 2014.
- Medicine, Life and Function: Experimental Strategies and Medical Modernity
at the Intersection of Pathology and Physiology (= Aspects of Medical Philosophy Series, Vol.11, Editor: Chr. Hoffstadt), Bochum, Freiburg: Projektverlag, 2012.