Postdoctoral Researcher and Instructor

Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge

Affiliate Member of the Department of History


PhD 2016 (History of Science) Harvard University


Research Interests

History of the human sciences; mental measurement; expert authority; knowledge circulation; Americanization


Biography

Tal Arbel is a cultural historian of science, currently a Postdoctoral Researcher and Instructor at the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, University of Chicago. Her primary research interests include the history of the behavioral and mind sciences, the sociology of expertise, and the social technologies that sustain the liberal democratic state. Her manuscript in progress, Fact Culture: Polling and the Politics of Objectivity, examines the global circulation of opinion surveys and market research methods in the aftermath of World War II and the influence this scientific practice had on what knowledge claims are considered trustworthy in the public domain. Her new project, A Scientific Childhood, revisits the lives of children who served as subjects of observation and experiment from the 1920s to the 1950s, and whose childhood experiences (their games, routines, family relations and institutional realities) had shaped the central dogmas of developmental psychology, as well as our ideas about normality. She holds an MA in History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas from Tel Aviv University and a PhD in History of Science from Harvard University. She was most recently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University.


Publications

"Fear in Hebrew: Militarized Behaviorism and the Cultural Politics of Science in Translation," Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 49.5 (2019): 471–503.

Review of Aaron Panofsky, Misbehaving Science: Controversy and the Development of Behavior Genetics (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2014)British Journal for the History of Science 50.2 (2017): 376-377.

"Varda Raziel Jacont: The Dame of Pop Psychology," Lords of Culture: Anatomy of Israeli Culture Producers, ed. Nir Baram (Tel Aviv: Am Oved Publishers, 2003).


Courses

Normal People (IRHU 26074 / KNOW 26074)
The Crisis of Expertise (KNOW 36077)