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 Lecturer in History of Science at Harvard University as well as an Associate Researcher at Sciences Po (Médialab).
My research focuses on the politics of life, health, and wealth with a particular interest in the politics of health as it plays out in poor and developing countries as well as in the Middle East. My interests and perspective lie at the intersection of history, philosophy, ethics, medicine, and policy.
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 bestowed by 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.
Along with Nikolas Rose, I also co-authored 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). I have been an invited researcher at the École normale supérieure and the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (Centre Alexandre Koyré). In 2017, I was elected to join Columbia University’s Society of Fellows.