New Books Network

Howard I. Kushner

On the Other Hand

Left Hand, Right Brain, Mental Disorder, and History

Johns Hopkins University Press 2017

New Books in HistoryNew Books in MedicineNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in PsychologyNew Books in ScienceNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books in Science, Technology, and SocietyNew Books Network February 14, 2018 Maia Woolner

In the early twentieth century, Robert Hertz, a French anthropologist, and Cesare Lombroso, the Italian criminologist, debated the causes and consequences of left-handedness. According...

In the early twentieth century, Robert Hertz, a French anthropologist, and Cesare Lombroso, the Italian criminologist, debated the causes and consequences of left-handedness. According to Lombroso, left-handed individuals were more likely to be criminals. Hertz disagreed. For him, to restrict left-handedness was to suppress individual expression. In his book, On the Other Hand: Left Hand, Right Brain, Mental Disorder, and History (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), Howard I. Kushner explores the fascinating and circuitous history of left-handedness. By looking at a wide variety of scientific research, as well as the cultural meanings attached to left-handedness, Kushner breaks down the binary between nature and nurture that has characterized most explanations of what some researchers have called non-right-handedness. Ultimately Kushner argues that discrimination against left-handers can be read as a barometer for a given society’s toleration of diversity.