About Noga Arikha

Noga Arikha is a 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 began her studies, including her PhD in History, by focusing on early modern Europe, her interests encompass a wide range of periods and cultures, and her work straddles a multiplicity of disciplines, from philosophy, the cognitive and mind sciences, and anthropology, to the histories of science, psychology, medicine, art, and food.

She endeavours to bridge the divide between the "two cultures" - the sciences and the humanities - and to bring to a general audience accessible accounts that analyse the origins of our deepest concerns about our embodied selves.


Noga Arikha was born in Paris and raised there, speaking English at home.

At the age of 19, she settled in London, where she followed a foundation art course before studying for a BA in German and Philosophy at King`s College, London. She joined the Warburg Institute, where she studied the early modern history of ideas, earning an MA in 1996 and a PhD in 2001 (Adam`s Spectacles: Nature, Mind and Body in the Age of Mechanism).

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 (2002-03); and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Humanities at Bard College (2003-05) and at the Bard Graduate Center, NYC (2007). In 2007-08, while briefly based in Bologna, she was Visiting Fellow at the Institut Jean-Nicod in Paris.

She interned as an editorial assistant at the New York Review of Books in 1993, served on the Advisory Board of Prospect Magazine from 1997 to 2006, and, from 2009 to 2014, was on the Advisory Board of Lapham`s Quarterly

Her first book, Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours, was published in the US by Ecco (HarperCollins) in 2007, and in Italy by Bompiani in 2008. She then co-wrote with her husband Marcello Simonetta a biography of Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon and the Rebel: A Story of Brotherhood, Passion, and Power, published in 2011 by Palgrave Macmillan in the US/UK and by Bompiani in Italy.

Now based in Paris with her husband and their two sons, she was Chair of Liberal Studies at Paris College of Art (ex-Ecole Parsons à Paris) from 2012 to 2014, where she also taught. She is writing a book on brain, self and medicine with Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston) neurologist Anand Viswanathan.



photo by Logan Sandridge 



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Noga Arikha`s CV.