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Mental Health in Haiti

by Angela Griffe

As part of the Wednesday at the Center series, the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies welcomed Dr. Bonnie Kaiser to speak about the importance of integrating local culture and language to improve mental health care in Haiti.

The John Hope Franklin Center and the Global Mental Health Initiative at Duke Global Health Institute hosted the packed event which focused on what the field of anthropology can contribute to global health research. Kaiser focused on the importance of accepting local cultural models of mental illness in relation to communication and measurement, care-seeking behavior, and understanding misfortune.

Kaiser advocated for researchers and mental health professionals to utilize local “idioms of distress,” such as reflechi tròp, or “thinking too much” rather than biomedical terms. Integrating these idioms into mental health screenings makes for more accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Kaiser in the front of a room

Dr. Kaiser field questions from the crowd. photo by Angela Griffe

Kaiser also stressed the importance of Vodou priests and the Catholic Church as common sources of care and treatment. Many Haitians believe mental illness is the result of “sent spirits,” and as such, turn to religion rather than medical care.

Mental health care is “too focused on singular clinical settings,” Kaiser concluded, and professionals and researchers need to focus more on how social inequality and structural violence affect the way mental illness should be viewed and treated.

 

Wednesdays at the Center – Spring 2018 Schedule

Wednesdays at the Center (W@TC) is a topical weekly series in which scholars, artists, journalists, and others speak informally about their work in conversation with the audience. This semester the John Hope Franklin Center is proud to collaborate with partners across Duke and throughout the larger academic community to present a discipline diverse series.

Join us on Wednesdays throughout the semester from 12:00pm – 1:00pm in the Franklin Center’s Ahmadiah Family Conference Hall, room 240. A light lunch is served at each event.

Born Again Black: Tracing Diaspora and Nation through the Diasporic A.M.E. Church

(CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER)

A lecture with Christina C. Davidson, Ph.D., History Department, Duke University

January 17, 2018, 12:00pm -1:00pm

Mental Health in Haiti: Exploring culture and language to improve care

A lecture with Bonnie Kaiser, Ph.D., Duke Global Health Institute

January 24, 2018, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Tainan, City Pluriferent

A lecture with David Liu, Ph.D., Religious Studies Department, Duke University

January 31, 2018, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Blackness Unmoored: Relational Ethics and Aesthetics in Stromae’s “Formidable”

A lecture with Daphne Lamothe, Ph.D., Humanities Writ Large, Duke University

February 7, 2018, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Duke Undergraduate Working Group on MENA

A panel of Duke students from the Duke Undergraduate Working Group in MENA 

February 14, 2018, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

American Qur’an

A lecture with Sandow Birk, visual artist

February 21, 2018, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Food Insecurity on College Campuses and Beyond

A panel discussion with Rochelle Newton, Ed.D

February 28, 2018, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Africa’s ‘Scramble for Europe’

A lecture with Stephen W. Smith, Ph.D., African and African American Studies, Duke University

March 7, 2018, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work & South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait

A lecture with Attiya Ahmad, Ph.D., Departments of Anthropology and International Affairs, George Washington University

March 21, 2018, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Blood Letters: The Untold Story of Lin Zhao, a Martyr in Mao’s China

A lecture with Xi Lian, D.A., Duke Divinity School

March 28, 2018, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Virtual Reality in the Arabic Classroom at Duke

A panel discussion with Seth Anderson, Chip Bobbert, Mich Donovan, Elizabeth Evans, Maha Houssami, Thatcher Owen, and Leah Rothfeld

April 4, 2018, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Building an International Archive in the Jim Crow South: Arturo Schomburg at Fisk University

A lecture with Vanessa Valdés, Ph.D., The City College of New York and discussant, Mark Anthony Neal, Ph.D., Duke University

April 11, 2018, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Diverse Perspectives: Graduate Working Groups on Global Issues

A panel presentation from the 2017-2018 Graduate Working Groups on Global Issues

April 18, 2018, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Duke Hosts Middle East and Islam Summer Institute

Twenty-three educators from around the country convene on campus to develop 6-12 grade curricula.

From June 25-29, 2017 Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center led “The Middle East and Islam: New perspectives of Islamic History from the 16th century to the present” a summer institute for middle and high school educators from around the country. Over the course of the program, the educators attended lectures by Duke University, North Carolina State University, and University of North Carolina professors, and received specialized resources from the Duke Libraries.

 

 

Throughout the week, programming focused on different themes including the Ottoman and Safavid Empires of Turkey and Iran, and Islam in America. The educators were assigned readings from several books before arriving on campus and came prepared with questions. Participants engaged in daily curriculum session and discussions with university experts in K-12 education and Middle East Studies.

 

Along with their studies, the educators also partook in several experiential learning activities: film screenings, visiting a local mosque, and eating a variety of traditional Middle Eastern cuisines. “Our hope for the summer institute is to introduce teachers to new, engaging content and resources, and provide a space for participants to form networks with like-minded educators across the country,” said Emma Harver, a partner on the program from the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies.

Students in library training

Emma Harver watches librarian Mohamed Hamed deliver a library resource training session at the Edge.

 

Program participants were selected through a nation-wide search which received over 110 applications. A committee of teachers and Middle East specialists selected the program attendees which represent 14 states, teach a variety of disciplines, and work with both middle and high school students.

 

“I know for myself, I came in with a fairly solid understanding of Islam, but the institute was still able to tell me there was still a lot of things that I didn’t know and that I was open to learning about,” said Tara Rana, a Global History teacher from New York City, New York.

 

Learn more about the Duke Islamic Studies summer institute.

 

Group photo

Participants of the 2017 Middle East and Islam Summer Institute for Educators.

Islamic Mysticism – Fall 2017

Course numbers: AMES 373S, ETHICS 373S, ICS 380S, RELIGION 373S

Course attributions: CCI, EI, CZ

Course Description:

This course explores the mystical dimension of Islam, with a bold, poetic, and mystical emphasis on the legacy of human and Divine love.   No background is needed.

Themes explored in this class include the tradition of love poetry of Rumi and Hafez, the various meditative techniques, Sufi poetry and music. We will also explore the controversies surrounding Sufism in the contemporary scene ranging from attacks on Sufism from Muslim fundamentalists to the destruction of Sufi shrines by ISIS and Wahhabis.

Professor biography:

Professor Omid Safi is an award-winning professor in the department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and the director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center.

 

 

 

Rumi

s17_ames321
Course numbers: AMES 321, RELIGION 321

 

Course codes: CCI, R, ALP, CZ

 

Course Description:

Rumi is the iconic love poet of Islam, and one of the great mystical visionaries in history. This course explores Rumi’s traditional erotic love poetry, where human and Divine love mingle. All reads are in English. Open to all. No previous coursework required.

Instructor: Dr. Omid Safi

Dr. Safi is Director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He is the past Chair for the Study of Islam, and the current Chair for Islamic Mysticism Group at the American Academy of Religion. In 2009, he was recognized by the University of North Carolina for mentoring minority students in 2009, and won the Sitterson Teaching Award for Professor of the Year in April of 2010.

Omid is the editor of the volume Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism, which offered an understanding of Islam rooted in social justice, gender equality, and religious and ethnic pluralism. His works Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam, dealing with medieval Islamic history and politics, and Voices of Islam: Voices of Change were published 2006. His last book, Memories of Muhammad, deals with the biography and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad. He has forthcoming volumes on the famed mystic Rumi, contemporary Islamic debates in Iran, and American Islam.

 

 

Screening the Holocaust: Jews, WWII, and World Cinema

s17_ames341Course numbers: AMES 341A, AMI 263S, JEWISHST 266S, LIT 263S

 

Course codes: CCI, EI, ALP, CZ

 

Course description:

Screening the Holocaust surveys WWII and Jewish Holocaust films from Europe, the United States, and Israel. The course explores divergent cinematic strategies employed to represent what is commonly deemed as “beyond representation”. The class will examine the heated debate spurred by a number of Holocaust films.

Instructor: Dr. Shai Ginsburg

Dr. Ginsburg is the Director of Undergraduate Studies at Duke University’s Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department. Dr. Ginsburg’s research interests include Hebrew literature, Israeli cinema, critical theory, film theory, and nationalism.  His book, Rhetoric and Nation: The Formation of Hebrew National Culture, 1880-1990 (Syracuse University Press) was released in 2014.

Events

Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait

Speaker: Attiya Ahmad, Ph.D.

Why are domestic workers converting to Islam in the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf region? In this talk, Dr. Attiya Ahmad presents us with an original analysis of this phenomenon. Using extensive fieldwork conducted among South Asian migrant women in Kuwait, Ahmad argues domestic workers’ Muslim belonging emerges from their work in Kuwaiti households as they develop Islamic piety in relation—but not opposition—to their existing religious practices, family ties, and ethnic and national belonging. Their conversion is less a clean break from their preexisting lives than it is a refashioning in response to their everyday experiences. In examining the connections between migration, labor, gender, and Islam, Ahmad complicates conventional understandings of the dynamics of religious conversion and the feminization of transnational labor migration while proposing the concept of everyday conversion as a way to think more broadly about emergent forms of subjectivity, affinity, and belonging.
 
Dr. Attiya Ahmad is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at The George Washington University. Broadly conceived, her research focuses on the gendered interrelation of Islamic reform movements and political economic processes spanning the Middle East and South Asia, in particular, the greater Arabian Peninsula/Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean regions. Dr. Ahmad is a Ph.D. from Duke University and recently published her first book, “Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait” (Duke University Press, 2017). Dr. Ahmad is currently examining the development of global halal tourism networks.
 
This event is presented by the John Hope Franklin Center and the Duke University Middle East Studies Center. A light lunch will be served. Books will be available for purchase. Parking is available in nearby Trent Rd. and Erwin Rd. parking decks. The series provides 1-hour parking vouchers to guests.