Abstract: This talk will explore the early history of the concept of universal, global psyche, which emerged in the aftermath of WWII and during decolonisation, when Western psychiatry strove to leave behind its colonial legacies, and lay the foundation for a more inclusive conversation between Western and non-Western mental health communities. In this period, leading ‘psy’ professionals across the globe set about identifying and defining the universal psychological mechanisms supposedly shared among all cultures (and ‘civilisations’). I will explore this far-reaching psychiatric, social and cultural search for a new definition of ‘common humanity’, which developed in an increasingly inter-connected and culturally diverse global context, and examine the historical forces that drove it. The talk will tackle the following questions How did psychiatrists and anthropologists from all over the world re-define the relationship between culture, race and individual psyche following the end of the Second World War and colonialism, what was the role of experts from the Global South and Eastern Europe in this transformative process, and did this new global and transcultural psychiatry succeed in departing from the erstwhile colonial
Dr. Ana Antic is a historian of modern Europe, specialising in the cultural and social history of psychiatry and other ‘psy’ disciplines. She is the author of the monograph Therapeutic Fascism: Experiencing the violence of the Nazi New Order (OUP, 2017), and the PI of the new ERC-funded project on the history of transcultural psychiatry after WWII. She is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter.