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Behaves like a Rooster and Cries like a Dog: Nightmares, Depression, Psychiatry, and the Rise of Iranian Psychiatric Selves

A lecture by Michael M.J. Fischer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Monday, April 11, 2011
3:00 PM
352 Haines Hall

This paper is a first effort to draw together both the history of psychiatry in Iran and specifically the 3 or 4 generations of dealing with depression and nightmares since the 1979 revolution in Iran. Any serious anthropological exploration of trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, as well as the rise of new psychiatric discourses of the self in Iran and its diasporas, requires engagement with at least three rings of (i) explanation or social analysis, (ii) explication or cultural hermeneutics, and (iii) individual life histories or psychodynamics. Social analysis belongs to a symbolic world of justifications, rationalizations and model building; cultural hermeneutics to something like an archive fever of unconscious and catacoustic traces; and life histories to the family, community, ethnic, and nationalist separations from the innocence of childhood as one advances through the idiosyncratic doublets of biological and social maturation.

Michael M.J. Fischer is Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, and Professor of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies at MIT, as well as Lecturer in Social Medicine in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School. He trained at Johns Hopkins, the London School of Economics, and the University of Chicago (PhD). He has taught at Chicago, Harvard, Rice, and MIT, serving as Director of the Center for Cultural Studies at Rice, and Director of the Program in Science, Technology and Society at MIT. He has done fieldwork in the Caribbean, Iran, India, and currently beginning fieldwork in Southeast Asia on new initiatives in the biosciences and biotechnologies.

Cost : Free and Open to the Public

Johanna Romero

Sponsor(s): , Co-sponsored by Mind, Medicine, and Culture group, UCLA Anthropology Department

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