This chapter examines the representation of the collaboration between neuroscience and traditional methods of manipulating the mind. When writing for a Western Buddhist audience, authors must negotiate the epistemological tension between traditional and scientific authority. Despite claims of collaboration and interdisciplinary pursuit, these articles often present neuroscience as the ultimate authority on matters of the mind and, like other popular science writing, tend toward reductionism, essentialism, and bolstered claims of certainty.
Jenell Johnson is an assistant professor of communication arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is also affiliate faculty in the life sciences communication and the Holtz Center for science and technology studies. She is the author of American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History (2014). With Melissa Littlefield (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), she has published The Neuroscientific Turn: Transdisciplinarity in the Age of the Brain (2012), a groundbreaking collection of academic essays that explores the rapid rush to “neuro-fy” academic disciplines (such as neurosociology, neuroeconomics, and neurohistory). She has published essays in Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Journal of Advanced Composition, Medicine Studies, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, and Advances in Medical Sociology: Sociological Perspectives on Neuroscience.