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Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology: Events


Gender, mental health and disability rights in Asia.

Gender, mental health and disability rights in Asia.
Speaker: Bhargavi Davar # Director of Bapu Trust; Hosted by: CSAS # TBC; Hosted by: EdCMA # TBC
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Date and Time
2nd Mar 2017 15:00 - 2nd Mar 2017 16:30
6th Floor Staff Room, Chrystal Macmillan Building

The seminar is about the linkages between Gender, disability rights and Mental health, from the point of view of low income communities; and drawing from advocacy experiences in Asia and program experiences in Pune, India. The Seminar is informed by developments in gender studies, disability studies, mad studies to set the scene for emerging questions. The disability movement since a decade, has been guided by the UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities), which is hailed as the first treatise of the Millennium. The Convention opened up the possibilities of a 'paradigm shift' in conceptualizing disabilities and recasting practices: Recognition of the experience of marginalization, and an unconditional policy shift towards inclusion of persons with mental health problems and psychosocial disabilities are expected to happen, under this new international policy frame. Those traditional identity mantles of 'user survivor', 'consumer', 'mentally ill', etc. are being contested by disabled people's voices from the global south, as an indicator of over-medicalization and not as an indicator of political resistance. The first part of the seminar will focus on the normative challenges and opportunities found in present times, in Asia, for developing inclusive communities; and lessons learnt from various initiatives (both programmatic and advocacial) including the work we are doing in the Bapu Trust. 


Bhargavi V Davar is a childhood survivor of the Indian mental asylums, being exposed to a variety of them for years in early childhood. Compelled by those early experiences, she completed her PhD in1993, from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai on the ethical and epistemological foundations of the mental and behavioural sciences. Through her early years, she studied theories of freedom and consciousness, human physiology, psychology, buddhism, 'anti-psychiatry', and the philosophies of social sciences. Her research has been on gender, culture and disability studies, and making sense of modern mental health policy frames in India and Asia. The impact of colonialism on mental health systems in post colonial times, in India, is also a big area of research interest. She has published works, including (co-author) Psychoanalysis as a Human Science (Sage, 1995); Mental health of Indian women (Sage, 1999); (ed.) Mental health from a gender perspective (Sage, 2001); Gendering mental healthKnowledges, identities, institutions (OUP, 2015). She is Director of the Bapu Trust for Research on Mind & Discourse, Pune; and Convenor for an Asia advocacy platform, called 'Transforming Communities for Inclusion, Asia' [TCI Asia]. She is a practising Arts Based Therapist and teacher; an international certified trainer of the UNCRPD; and an organic farmer. She lives with her daughter in Pune, India. 

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