December 3, 2021

Dr. Sarah Pinto presents, “Organic Psyche: Notes from Late Colonial India.”  We are also pleased to have with us Dr. Andrew McDowell who will serve as a discussant.

Overview:  How might contrasting visions of self and psyche orient colonial and anti-colonial politics? What histories of colonial and anti-colonial thought can be read in contrasting diagnostic concepts? This talk pursues the intersecting histories of two diagnostic categories - melancholic stupor and confusional disorder  - as they appeared in late colonial India, asking what it means for contemporary reckonings of medicine and decolonization that  psychiatrists in indigenizing medical institutions reframed psychologically-oriented theories to emphasize physical sources of suffering.  

Sarah Pinto, PhD is a Professor of Anthropology at Tufts University and author of three books on medicine, gender, and power in South Asia, Where There Is No Midwife: Birth and Loss in Rural India (Berghahn Books, 2008), Daughters of Parvati: Women and Madness in Contemporary India (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) which won the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize for work on gender and health, and, most recently, The Doctor and Mrs. A.: Ethics and Counter-Ethics in an Indian Dream Analysis (Women Unlimited 2019, Fordham University Press 2020).  She is currently writing a history of hysteria, the medical concept, in South Asia.

Andy McDowell, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Tulane University. His work focuses on tuberculosis, breath, contagion, pharmaceuticals, global health and other intersections of meaning and materiality in India.   

The seminar takes place from 10am to 12pm ET, via Zoom.  This session will be recorded.

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