The Centre for the Study of Jewish Culture, Society and Politics is hosting a lecture by Professor Sander Gilman (Emory University) entitled How did Racism and Anti-Semitism become Mental Illnesses?
In 2012, an interdisciplinary team of scientists at the University of Oxford reported that, based on their clinical experiment, a beta-blocker drug could reduce implicit racial bias among its users. Shortly after the experiment, an article in Time Magazine, citing the study, asked the question: Is racism becoming a mental illness? This lecture traces the genealogies of race and racism as psychopathological categories from mid-19th century Europe and the United States up to the aforementioned clinical experiment at the University of Oxford, addressing a slightly different question than that posed by Time Magazine: Are racists crazy? Sander Gilman provides a rich account for how the 19th century ‘Sciences of Man’, including anthropology, medicine, and biology, used race as a means of defining psychopathology at the very beginning of modern clinical psychiatry and subsequently how these claims about race and madness became embedded within claims of those disciplines that deal with mental health and illness. Finally, the lecture traces the contemporary shift in explaining racism occurring since the end of World War II – from that of a social, political, and cultural consequence to that of a pathological byproduct.
The lecture will take place at 17.00 on Monday 14 March in the Lindisfarne Centre, located at St. Aidan’s College, and will be followed by a drinks reception.