Noga Arikha is a philosopher and historian of ideas, particularly interested in the relation between mind and body, and in tracing the genealogy of the concepts that pertain to it.
Though she initially focused on life sciences in early modern Europe, her interests encompass a broad range of periods and cultures, and her work straddles a multiplicity of disciplines, from philosophy, the neurosciences, and anthropology, to the histories of psychology, medicine, art, and food.
She increasingly works with neuroscientists and neurologists, endeavouring to bridge the sciences and the humanities by fostering dialogues across the divide between them, and to bring to a general audience accessible accounts that analyse the origins of our deepest concerns about our embodied selves.
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Noga Arikha was born and raised in Paris, one of two daughters of painter Avigdor Arikha and poet Anne Atik. At the age of 19, she settled in London, where she took a BA in German and Philosophy at King’s College, London. She joined the Warburg Institute, earning an MA in the early modern history of ideas and a PhD. From 2002 to 2011 she lived in New York. She was an "Arts and Neuroscience" Fellow at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, at Columbia University, and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Humanities at Bard College and at the Bard Graduate Center, NYC. She has worked as an editorial assistant at the New York Review of Books, served on the Advisory Board of Prospect Magazine, and is a member of the Advisory Board of Lapham’s Quarterly. Since 2011, she has been based in Paris with her husband and two sons. She was Chair of Liberal Studies at Paris College of Art (ex-Ecole Parsons à Paris), where she also taught, developing courses on Body & Art, Social Identity, and Self-Knowledge. She is currently affiliated with the SPHERE Research Unit of Université Paris 7 Diderot as well as with the Institut Jean Nicod (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris).
Her critically acclaimed first book, Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours, published in the US by Ecco (HarperCollins) and in Italy by Bompiani, was a New York Times Review Editor’s Choice for July 2007 and one of the Washington Post Best Non-Fiction Books for 2007. (The book website is here.) Her second book, a biography of Lucien Bonaparte co-authored with her husband Marcello Simonetta, was Napoleon and the Rebel: A Story of Brotherhood, Passion, and Power, published in the US/UK by Palgrave Macmillan and in Italy by Bompiani.
She is currently writing a book on brain, self and medicine based on neuropsychiatric clinical cases, and a biography of anthropologist Franz Boas.