In the contemporary world, different systems of knowledge, philosophies, and techniques of the self, understandings of normality and pathology, illness and healing, are increasingly engaged in a dialogue with each other in the lives, on the bodies, and in the imagination of people. The terms of this dialogue are often unequal and painful, yet they are also productive of new subjectivities and new voices.
It is the task of a renewed psychological anthropology to study and reflect on these processes. Topics to be covered in this class include new forms of the subject and ethics at the intersection of psychical/psychiatric, political, and religious processes and discourses; ethno-psychiatry, psychoanalysis, the psychology of colonization and racism; anthropological approaches to possession and altered states, emotion, culture, and the imagination, madness and mental illness. The specific stress will be on the stakes of anthropology of the psyche today, for an understanding of power and subjugation, delusion and the imagination, violence, and the possibility of new forms of life.