Embodied Archives. Memories, Lies, and Unspeakable Experiences in Refugees’ Narratives

The Medical Anthropology Program presents a talk by Professor Roberto Beneduce, Centro Franz Fanon, Turin and Department of Anthropology, University of Turin. His talk, titled “Embodied Archives. Memories, Lies, and Unspeakable Experiences in Refugees’ Narratives” will focus on the following questions: How do refugees remember? What do refugees remember? The paper presented by Beneduce will discuss ways through which refugees and asylum seekers incessantly reshape past experiences, embodied archives, and cultural memories over the course of their encounter with host country institutions. It will also focuse on the struggle of classification that characterizes this encounter, as well as the ways by which refugees often oppose dominant clinical and humanitarian emplotments through counter-narratives and counter-memories. The analysis of their experiences, which resist hegemonic relationships of power/knowledge, constitutes a valuable step towards a political phenomenology of migration. In the concluding section of his presentation, Professor Beneduce will explore the ways through which African refugees in Italy (and in the space of the clinic) actively rewrite traumatic memories, and how healing attempts to transform the banality of suffering into an epic journey.

Roberto Beneduce is an anthropologist and ethno-psychiatrist. He teaches Medical and Psychological Anthropology at the University of Turin. He has worked in Western and Central Africa, where he also practiced ethno-psychiatry, and since 1996 he practices ethnopsychiatry at the Franz Fanon Center in Turin, of which he is the founding member. He received his MD and psychiatric specialization from the University of Naples, and his anthropology degree from the EHESS (Paris). His current research and therapeutic work focus at once on issues of migration and psychic suffering (refugees, victims of torture, citizenship), and on social violence, suffering and healing in West Africa.

Wednesday October 24, 2012
Gifford Room (221 Kroeber Hall), UC Berkeley
5:00 pm.

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Last modified: October 11, 2012