Greek bios βίος ‘(course of) human life.’
I am currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University’s Society of Fellows. I am also a Lecturer in the History Department and the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University. I am broadly interested in the politics of life, health, and wealth. My interests lie at the intersection of history, philosophy, ethics, medicine and policy.
I hold a Ph.D. in History of Science from Harvard University (2017), an M.D. from the American University of Beirut (2006), and an M.Sc. in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics (2007).
I was originally trained as a medical doctor at the American University of Beirut (AUB). I also hold an MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). My master’s thesis, which was motivated by growing up in a society marked by political violence, was on the ethics of war, in specific, on post-war ethics and the role “mental health” could play in the reconstruction of post-traumatized selves. The aim was to fill a gap in the literature on the so-called “Just War Theory.”
I went on to work for three years on the “Brain, Self and Society project” led by Nikolas Rose at the BIOS Centre at the LSE (now at King’s College London) and funded by the United Kingdom’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). These intense years investigating, debating and generating inter-disciplinary dialogues around the brain and the implications of the “neuro-turn” led to a book co-authored with Nikolas Rose Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind (Princeton University Press, 2013).
My current (second) book project, which draws on my doctoral dissertation, examines the history of modern psychiatric thinking and practice in the Middle East and uses shifting ideas about normality and pathology and ways to manage precarious lives as a lens into broader social, political, and ethical mutations in the region. The book is tentatively titled: ‘Asfuriyyeh: A History of Madness, Modernity, and War in the Middle East (under contract with MIT Press).
Over the years my work has been generously supported by the LSE’s PJD Wiles Scholarship, the UK’s ESRC, the French government’s Chateaubriand Fellowship in the Humanities & Social Sciences, Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Fellowships, Harvard’s Weatherhead’s Center for International Affairs, Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard’s Hiebert Graduate Research Travel Award, and Sciences Po and Harvard’s exchange fellowship.