October 8, 2021

The Friday Morning Seminar on October 8, 2021 features Professor Hans Pols presenting with co-editor Professor Mark Micale and contributors Drs. Caroline Bennett and Narquis Barak, a talk titled “Traumatic Pasts in Asia: History, Psychiatry and Trauma,” based on their recently published book of the same title.

Thus far, most historical and anthropological research on trauma and PTSD has focused on high-income countries. During this seminar, will discuss a recently published edited book on the experience, conceptualisation, and reactions to highly traumatic events in Asia, with contributions by historians and anthropologists. The seminar will feature brief presentations by two contributors: Caroline Bennett on “Haunting and Recovery in Post–Khmer Rouge Cambodia,” and Narquis Barak on Vietnamese reactions to trauma during the Vietnam War. The editors of the book, Mark Micale and Hans Pols, will give a brief introduction while Byron Good, the author of the afterword, will make some comments as well.  For the book see: https://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/MicaleTraumatic.  For a review see: https://www.newmandala.org/book-review/traumatic-pasts-in-asia-history-psychiatry-and-trauma-from-the-1930s-to-the-present/. On how the edited volume came together see: https://www.newmandala.org/book-review/traumatic-pasts-in-asia-history-psychiatry-and-trauma-from-the-1930s-to-the-present/.

Hans Pols, PhD is Professor at the School of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney and a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He is interested in the history of colonial medicine and the transformation medical research and practice underwent during the process of decolonization. His research has focused on the Dutch East Indies and Indonesia, and on psychiatry and mental health. His book Nurturing Indonesia: Medicine and Decolonisation in the Dutch East Indies was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018. He is currently involved in several projects that aim to shape the future of mental health care in Indonesia.

Mark S. Micale, PhD is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. After receiving his Ph.D. at Yale in 1987, he taught at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine (1988–90), Yale (1990–1996), the University of Manchester (1996–2000), and the University of Illinois (2000–2018). His fields of scholarly interest are modern European intellectual and cultural history; post-revolutionary French history; the history of medicine, especially psychiatry and neurology; the history of the life sciences; psychoanalytic studies; and masculinity studies. Th e majority of his publications have dealt with the history of the mental sciences; they include Beyond the Unconscious (1993), Discovering the History of Psychiatry with Roy Porter (1994), Approaching Hysteria: Disease and Its Interpretations (1994), Th e Mind of Modernism: Medicine, Psychology, and the Cultural Arts in Europe and America, 1880–1940Traumatic Pasts: History, Psychiatry, and Trauma in the Modern Age, 1860–1930 (2001), Enlightenment, Culture, and Passion: Essays in History in Honor of Peter Gay (2000); and Hysterical Men: Th e Hidden History of Male Nervous Illness (2008).

Narquis Barak, PhD is Prevention Research Manager at CrescentCare, a Federally Qualified Health Clinic in New Orleans, Louisiana. She has coordinated the CDC funded National HIV Behavioral Surveillance program in New Orleans. for more than eleven years. She conducts large-scale ethnographic and survey research on populations at high risk for HIV and Hepatitis C, including Men Who Have Sex with Men, People Who Inject Drugs, Transgender Women, and High Risk Heterosexuals in the New Orleans metropolitan area, a component of which examines how factors such as exposure to violence, trauma, and stigma affect risk behaviors and exposure to HIV and Hepatitis C. Barak is also Project Director and co-designer of +LOVE, a Ryan White funded intervention to improve health outcomes for Black Men Who Have Sex with Men living with HIV, which provides behavioral health therapy that is trauma-focused. Her research in New Orleans, Louisiana, northern Vietnam, southwestern Nigeria, and southern India has focused on social and cultural factors that shape the practice of medicine, disease experience, and disease etiology and transmission. Barak has an MA in social anthropology from Harvard University and completed all coursework and requirements for her PhD except the dissertation. She has designed and taught courses focused on cross-cultural mental health and violence at Harvard and Stanford University.

Caroline Bennett, PhD is a socio-cultural and forensic anthropologist, specialising in the study of politics and violence, with specific attention to genocide, human rights abuses, and the politics of death and the dead. Her current research examines mass graves in Cambodia resulting from the Cambodian genocide (1975-1979), exploring the use of political violence and mass death in projects of nation and state building. Previously, Caroline was a forensic anthropologist in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq, working on projects of identification and mass grave investigation following conflict and human rights abuses. Her research intersects the practical and theoretical approaches to mass grave investigation and the recovery and identification of human remains after mass death. She holds a BSc in Anthropology (University College London), MSc in Forensic Anthropology (Bradford University), MA in Visual Anthropology (University of Kent), and a PhD in Social Anthropology (University of Kent). She is currently a research associate in the anthropology programme at Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

For videos of previous seminars, please contact Sadeq Rahimi.