Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Advanced Study Institute: Cultural Poetics of Illness and Healing

June 26, 2019 - June 28, 2019

Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University

Advanced Study Institute in Cultural Psychiatry

June 26-28, 2019

Cultural Poetics of Illness and Healing: Embodiment, Enactment and the Politics of Experience

Language is the most distinctive feature of the human mind, through which we fashion our lifeworlds in the process of poiesis, giving voice to suffering, making sense of our predicaments, and finding ways to heal. Each language of suffering and affliction is deeply rooted in a cultural history, geography, and community. Every expression of distress and effort at transformation draws from these shared languages even as individuals improvise new hybrid forms. Understanding the creative functions of language must be central to a psychiatry for the whole person. This meeting will bring together researchers in cultural psychiatry with scholars engaged in studying how language constructs experience through embodied metaphor, narrative enactment, and situated performance. Presenters will explore the ways that cultural resources suffuse our linguistic capacity and modes of self-construal in the experience and expression of symptoms and illness and in the processes of identity transformation and healing. Sessions will address: 1) the cognitive science of language, metaphor, and poiesis from embodied and enactivist perspectives; 2) how cultural affordances, background knowledge, discourse and practices enable and constrain poiesis; 3) the cognitive and social poetics of symptom and illness experience; and 4) the politics and practice of poetics in healing ritual, psychotherapy, and recovery.

The format will be a two-day Workshop(June 26 & 27) for researchers working on these issues followed by a public Conference(June 28) directed to mental health practitioners, educators, scholars, and students. These meetings will take place at the Institute of Community & Family Psychiatry, 4333 Chemin de la Côte-Ste-Catherine, Montreal, QC, H3T 1E4.

Guest Faculty

Debbie Ann-Chambers, Hanne De Jaegher, Raymond Gibbs, Frederick Hickling, Arlene Katz, Bradley Lewis, Omri Moses, Louis Sass, Rebecca Seligman, Bradd Shore, Somogy Varga, Geoffrey Walcott

McGill Faculty

Jaswant Guzder, Laurence J. Kirmayer, Melissa Park, Cécile Rousseau, Samuel Veissière, Hiba Zafran

Selected papers from the ASI will appear in a thematic issue of Transcultural Psychiatry.




June 26, 2019
June 28, 2019


Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University


Institute of Community & Family Psychiatry
4333 Cote Ste-Catherine
Montreal, QC H3T 1E4 Canada
+ Google Map