Anselm Kiefer, Iconoclastic Controversy, Bilder-Streit, 1980, oil, emulsion, shellac, sand on a photo with woodcuts, 290 × 400 cm. Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam
I am a historian of medicine also trained as a medical doctor and a philosopher. My research focuses on the politics of life, health, and wealth. My interests and perspective lie at the intersection of history, philosophy, ethics, medicine, global health and policy. I have a particular interest in the history of psychiatry in its local and global iterations, the history of medicine more broadly speaking, and an interest in the politics of health as it plays out in low- and middle-income countries or the so-called “Global South”.
My recent book ‘Asfuriyyeh: A History of Madness, Modernity, and War in the Middle East (MIT Press, 2020) reconstructs the history of one of the first modern psychiatric hospitals in the modern Middle East and through it explores the complex relationships between pathology and modernity. The book received the 2019 Jack D. Pressman-Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Development Award in 20th Century History of Medicine or Biomedical Sciences from the American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM). Check my interviews on the publication of ‘Asfuriyyeh on The East is a Podcast and the Archipelago/Movement Radio.
I also co-authored with Nikolas Rose Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind (Princeton University Press, 2013). The book examines the “neuro-turn” and the salience of the new sciences of the brain in the governance and everyday life of neoliberal democracies. The book has been reviewed widely in many academic journals and magazines, such as the New Yorker.
Since October 2019, when an unprecedented economic and political crisis erupted in Lebanon and more specifically since the tragic Beirut explosion on August 4, 2020 and the humanitarian crisis that ensued, I have also been involved in several civil society initiatives. More recently, since the Covid-19 pandemic crisis erupted, I have engaged in writing and activism with the implications of the crisis on individuals and societies. My research and public engagement output can be consulted under “Media” and “Research”.
I hold a Medical Doctorate from the American University of Beirut (2006), an M.Sc. in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics (2007), and a Ph.D. in History of Science from Harvard University (2017). In 2017 I was elected Fellow at Columbia University’s Society of Fellows (2017-2019). I have also been an invited researcher at the École normale supérieure, the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (Centre Alexandre Koyré) as well as the Paris Institute of Political Studies, commonly referred to as Sciences Po (Médialab).
I am currently Lecturer on the History of Science at Harvard University.
In 2023-2024 I will be a Fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute working on my next book project.
“Le je est haïssable” Blaise Pascal. AI-generated picture, 2023.