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Social Anthropology: News


Humanitarianism and Trauma: Two events with Didier Fassin

Social Anthropology, in association with the Global Development Academy, welcomes you to two public events with the distinguished French anthropologist, Didier Fassin.

Friday 18 March, 10
Munro Lecture
Humanitarian Reason: A Moral Economy of our Time
William Robertson Building, G.08

NB Change of day and time because of industrial action

Friday 18th March, 2-4
The Empire of Trauma: A Symposium
with Lydie Fialova, Alan Keenan, Murray Last, Rebecca Marsland
Chrystal Macmillan Building, Seminar Room 2

Didier Fassin is an anthropologist and a sociologist who has conducted field studies in Senegal, Ecuador, South Africa and France. Trained as a physician in internal medicine and public health, he dedicated his early research to medical anthropology, illuminating important issues about the AIDS epidemic, social inequalities in health and the changing landscape of global health. More recently he has developed a new domain of inquiry he terms political and moral anthropology, analyzing the reformulation of injustice and violence as suffering and trauma, the expansion of an international humanitarian government, and the contradictions in the contemporary politics of life. His present project, a contribution to an anthropology of the state, explores the political and moral treatment of disadvantaged groups, including immigrants and refugees, through an ethnography of police, justice and prison.

Two of Didier Fassin's books have been recently published in English: When Bodies Remember: Experience and Politics of AIDS in South Africa (California, 2007) and (with R. Rechtman) The Empire of Trauma: Inquiry into the Condition of Victimhood (Princeton, 2009). The second of these will be the subject of our symposium on Friday 18th.

In 2009, Professor Fassin became only the second anthropologist to be invited to join the permanent members of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. (The first was Clifford Geertz.) As well as his academic positions, Professor Fassin also served for four years as Vice-President of Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders.

For further information, contact Katie Teague, School of Social and Political Studies (

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