Re-Learning the terms of 'Trauma' and Mental Health

'Trauma,' 'PTSD,' the 'repressed,' and other common labels for describing the lived realities of the Middle East are not always helpful in understanding the personal, social, or historic meaning of an event, a system, or an experience. They are, however, powerful terms that have come to structure discourse on life in the Middle East (and elsewhere). How do we escape or find alternatives to these imposing frames? The resources below gather examples from scholars, writers, performers, practitioners and policy makers who are all finding ways to think 'Beyond Trauma.' 

Teaching Resources on the Social Construction of Trauma

This is a sample reading list I have used for introducing students to the history of the concept and discourses of trauma in psychoanalys
Allan Young Interview: science-an-interview-with-allan-young.html Shephard, B. (2001). A war of nerves: Soldiers and psychiatrists in the twentieth century. Harvard University Press. Summerfield, Derek. 1999. ‘A Critique of Seven Assumptions behind Psychological Trauma Programmes in War-Affected Areas’. Social Science & Medicine 48, no. 10: 1449–62. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fourth and Fifth Editions (APA 1994 2013). Appendix i. Glossary of culture-bound syndromes. European-Inuit Relations? Arctic Anthropology, Vol. 32,2: pp.1-42. Critical Approaches: Young, Allan. 1993 “A Description of How Ideology Shapes Knowledge of a Mental Disorder (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder)” in Lindenbaum, Shirley and Margaret Lock (eds.), Knowledge, Power and Practices: The Anthropology of Medicine and Everyday Life. Berkeley and London, University of California Press. Young, Alan. 1997. Harmony of Illusions: Introduction(Pp.3-12) Retchman, Richard. The rebirth of PTSD: the rise of a new paradigm in psychiatrySocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 2004, Volume 39, Issue 11,p 913-915 * Fassin, D. and R. Rechtman. 2009. The Empire of Trauma. An Inquiry into the Condition of Victimhood. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Introduction Summerfield, D. (2001). The invention of post-traumatic stress disorder and the social usefulness of a psychiatric category. British Medical Journal, 322(7278), 95-98. Hacking, Ian. 2013. Lost in the Forest (review of DSM-5: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). London Review of Books, vol. 35, no. 15: 7-8. Ian Hacking, “Making up people.” London Review of Books, Vol. 28 No. 16 · 17 August 2006. Kirk, S. A., & Kutchins, H. (1992). The selling of the DSM: The rhetoric of science in psychiatry. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter. Lakoff, Andrew. 2012. Ian Hacking: Interviewed by Andrew Lakoff. Public Culture, vol. 24, no. 1: 217-232. Kirmayer, L., Lemelson, R. and Barad, M. 2008. Understanding Trauma. Integrating Biological, Clinical, and Cultural Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lester, R. 2013. Back from the edge of existence: A critical anthropology of trauma. Transcultural Psychiatry 50(5):753-762. Das, V. 2007. Commentary: trauma and testimony, between law and discipline. Ethos 35(3):330- 335. Fassin, Didier. 2007 “Humanitarianism as a Politics of Life” in Public Culture, 19 (3):499-520 Lambek, M. (eds). Tense past: cultural essays in trauma and memory. NY: Routledge, pp:173-198. Kirmayer, L. 1993 Healing and the invention of metaphor: the effectiveness of symbols revisited. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 17(2):161-195. On The Postcolonial Subject and Condition Fanon F. 1963. The Wretched of the Earth. London: Penguin. Chakrabarty, Dipesh. 2012. Postcolonial Studies and the Challenge of Climate Change. New Literary History, 43: 1-18. Geschiere, Peter. 2009. Is There ‘A’ Postcolonial Condition? The Johannesburg Salon, Volume 1: 23-25. Gilroy, Paul. 2011. Fanon and the Value of the Human. The Johannesburg Salon, Volume 1: 7-14. Martinez-San Miguel, Yolanda. 2009. Postcolonialism. Social Text 100, 27(3): 188-193. Mbembe, Achille. 2009. Postcolonial Thought Explained to the French: An Interview with Achille Mbembe. The Johannesburg Salon, Volume 1: 33-38. Signer, Rachel. 2009. On Postcolonialism. The Johannesburg Salon, Volume 1: 32-33. Stam, Robert & Shohat, Ella. 2012. Whence and Whither Postcolonial Theory?New Literary History, 43: 371-390. Young, Robert JC. 2012. Postcolonial Remains. New Literary History, 43: 19-42. Latour, Bruno. 2004. Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern. Critical Inquiry, vol. 30: 225-248. Latour, Bruno. 2011. Networks, Societies, Spheres: Reflections of an Actor-network Theorist. International Journal of Communication, vol. 5: 796-810. Lynch. Michael. 2001. The Contingencies of Social Construction (review article of Ian Hacking). Economy and Society, vol. 30, no. 2: 240-254. Madsen, Ole Jacob et al. 2013. 'I am a philosopher of the particular case': An interview with the 2009 Holberg prizewinner Ian Hacking. History of the Human Sciences, vol. 26, no. 3: 32-51....

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This web hub is here to platform the rich diversity of resources that deal with understanding trauma in the Middle East. If you have any such resources, do not hesitate to get in touch.