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Plasticity and PathologyOn the Formation of the Neural Subject$
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David Bates and Nima Bassiri

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823266135

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823266135.001.0001

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The History of a Brain Wound

The History of a Brain Wound

Alexander Luria and the Dialectics of Soviet Plasticity

(p.159) 6 The History of a Brain Wound
Plasticity and Pathology

Hannah Proctor

Laura Salisbury

Fordham University Press

This chapter first discusses the Sublieutenant L. Zasetsky who, in 1943, received a devastating bullet wound that penetrated his brain and created, in an instant, a revolution of the self. Zasetsky was the subject of Russian neuropsychologist Alexander Luria’s famous 1971 “neurological novel” The Man with a Shattered World: A History of a Brain Wound. The book was written by Luria following twenty-five years of clinical observation and treatment. By giving back to Luria and Zasetsky’s “neurological novel” its historicity—its place within the history of aphasiology, but also, more significantly, by restoring it to its Soviet context—by returning this History of a Brain Wound to itself, the chapter hopes to render explicit the entanglement of neurobiology with a revolutionary politics of the social that insists on the Soviet conception of plasticity. It demonstrates how Luria and Zasetsky’s accounts of the plastic brain, and indeed the aphasic person embedded in a social world, are always and already objects and subjects of and in history in ways that demand the deconstruction of the idea of any given “brain fact” on which selves are built.

Keywords:   plasticity, human brain, L. Zasetsky, Alexander Luria, neuroplasticity, history, historicity

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