Conference Program: From the New Socialist Person to Global Mental Health

From the New Socialist Person to Global Mental Health: the Psy-ences and Mental Health in East Central Europe and Eurasia


April 29-30, 2013, University of Chicago


April 29: Gordon Center for Integrative Science (927 E 57th St)

April 30: International House, Home Room (1414 E 59th St.)




April 29


9:00 – 9:15 Welcome and introduction

  • Susan Gal (Anthropology, CEERES, University of Chicago)
  • Eugene Raikhel (Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago)


9:15 – 10:45  Panel 1: Expertise enacted and transformed


  • Benjamin Zajicek (History, Towson University “Insulin Shock Therapy and the Construction of Therapeutic Effectiveness in Stalin’s Soviet Union.”
  • Kateřina Lišková (Sociology, Masaryk University), “Socialist Person Normalized: Sexological Discourses in Czechoslovakia Between the 1950s and 1980s.”
  • Jessica Robbins (Anthropology, University of Michigan), “Socialist and Postsocialist Dimensions of the Geronto-/Psy-ences in Poland: The Case of Universities of the Third Age.”

Discussant: Susanne Cohen (Anthropology, University of Chicago)


10:45 – 11:00 Break



11:00 – 12:30 Panel 2:  Politics and the clinic


  • Rebecca Reich (Russian Literature and Culture, University of Cambridge), “Diagnosis, Dissidence and Self-Definition in the Late Soviet Period.”
  • Shelly Yankovskyy (Anthropology, University of Tennessee), “Political and Economic Transformations in Ukraine: the View from Psychiatry.”
  • Jack R. Friedman, (Anthropology, University of Oklahoma), “The Sad, The Mad, and The Bad: The Romanian Psychiatric Hospital as Neoliberal Assemblage of Pathology.”

Discussant: Tomas Matza (Anthropology, Duke University)


12:30 – 2:30 Lunch



2:30 – 4:00 Panel 3: The politics and ethics of addiction and treatment


  • Peter Meylakhs, (Higher School of Economics, St.Petersburg), “The Logic of Symbolic Pollution in the Russian Media Discourse on Drugs.”
  • Jennifer J. Carroll (Anthropology, University of Washington), “For Lack of Wanting: Addiction, Desire, and Personhood in Ukraine.”
  • Vladimir D. Mendelevich (Psychiatry, Kazan State University) “Bioethical Differences Between Drug Addiction Treatment Professionals Inside And Outside The Russian Federation.”

Discussant: Eugene Raikhel (Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago)


4:00 – 4:30 Break



4:30 – 6:00 Keynote address – Alexander Etkind (Cambridge University)

"Trotsky's Daughter and the Politics of Psy-ence"



6:00 – 8:00 Dinner




April 30



9:00 – 10:30 Panel 4: Trauma and care


  • Hanna Kienzler, (Social Science, Health and Medicine, King’s College London) “Health-seeking and healing in the aftermath of war.”
  • Peter Locke (Anthropology/Global Health, Princeton University), “Surviving the aftermath: trauma, resilience, and chronic insecurity in postwar Sarajevo.”
  • Namrita S. Singh, (Department of International Health, Social & Behavioral Interventions, Johns Hopkins), “Constructing care-seeking spaces and pathways: identity, integration, and mental illness experiences among protracted internally displaced persons in Georgia.”

Discussant: Michael Rasell (Health and Social Sciences, University of Lincoln)


10:30 – 11:00 Break



11:00 – 12:30 Panel 5: Subjectivities in transformation


  • Tomas Matza (Anthropology, Duke University), “Psychological Becoming after Socialism.”
  • Sonja Luehrmann,  (Anthropology, Simon Fraser University), “Innocence and Demographic Crisis: Transposing post-Abortion Syndrome into a Russian Orthodox Key.”
  • Grzegorz Sokol, (Anthropology, The New School for Social Research), “Mutuality and Selfhood: Depression, the twelve steps, and civil society in Poland”

Discussant: Jack R. Friedman (Anthropology, University of Oklahoma)


12:30 – 2:00 Lunch



2:00-3:30 Panel 6: Counter-narratives


  • Hannah Proctor (Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London), “Ahistorical Materialism: ‘Neuromania’ in Light of Lev Vygotsky and Alexander Luria’s Cultural-Historical Psychology.”
  • Eugene Raikhel (Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago), “Fear and coding in St. Petersburg: the affective technologies of addiction treatment.”
  • Khashayar Beigi (Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley) “All the Languages of the Jinn.”

Discussant: William Nickell (Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago)


3:30 – 4:00  Break


4:00 – 5:00 Open discussion