Some Aspects of Speech and the Brain
Susanne Fuchs, Hélène Lœvenbruck, Daniel Pape, and Pascal Perrier (Bern: Peter Lang). 2009. 405 pages. Price: €64
What happens in the brain when humans are both producing or listening to speech? This is the main focus of this book, written by researchers at some of the foremost European laboratories in the fields of linguistics, phonetics, psychology, cognitive sciences, and neurosciences. It includes a collection of 13 articles that review the progress achieved over the last 20 years in these areas. A large part of the book deals with brain activation in speech and language pathologies: language-related aspects in epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, dyslexia, and stuttering.
Human Zoos: Science and Spectacle in the Age of Empire
Pascal Blanchard, Nicolas Bancel, Gilles Boëtsch, Eric Deroo, Sandrine Lemaire, and Charles Forsdick, Eds. Trans. Teresa Bridgeman (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press). 2009. 352 pages. Price: £19.95
“Human zoos,” forgotten symbols of the colonial era, have been totally repressed in our collective memory. In these “anthropo-zoological” exhibitions, “exotic” individuals were placed alongside wild beasts and presented behind bars or in enclosures. Based on the best-selling French volume Zoos Humains but with a number of newly commissioned chapters, Human Zoos puts into perspective the “spectacularization” of the Other, a process that is at the origin of contemporary stereotypes and of the construction of our own identities. This is a unique book on a crucial phenomenon, which takes us to the heart of Western fantasies, and allows us to understand the genesis of identity in Japan, Europe, and North America.
Neurobiology of “Umwelt:” How Living
Beings Perceive the World (Research and Perspectives in Neurosciences)
Alain Berthoz and Yves Christen, Eds. (Berlin-Heidelberg: Springer). 2009. 158 pages. Price: €139
At the beginning of the 20th century, German biologist Jakob von Uexküll created the concept of “Umwelt” to denote the environment as experienced by a subject. Today, neuroscience provides a new way to look at the brain's capability to create a representation of the world. At the same time, behavioral specialists are demonstrating that animals have a richer mental universe than previously believed. Philosophical reflection is thus linked to more experimental and objective data. Nearly a century after the publication of von Uexküll's founding work (Umwelt und Innenwelt der Tiere was published in 1909), neurobiologists, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, ethologists, and philosophers revisit his concept in the light of modern science.