Julia Cassaniti | The Wildness and the Mind

This is an Archive of a Past Event

A Case Study of the Phenomenology of Schizophrenia for Patients at a Psychiatric Hospital in Thailand

Central to Cassaniti's claims about schizophrenia is a reported disturbance in the separation between the sense of self and the world. What does this look like for people who experience it, in different cultural contexts, and how might one's interpretations serve in its (re)integration? 

In this talk, she reports on a series of interviews that she conducted with Chaiyun Sakulsriprasert and Tanya Luhrmann in 2023 at the Suan Prung Psychiatric Hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Cassaniti examines how patients talked about their minds, especially through the common idiom of sati (mindfulness), and about the many ghosts of the wildness and wilderness that are heard and seen during psychotic episodes. Rather than a lack of metacognitive awareness, the research points to intriguing new paths for understanding the role of subjective interpretations in the experience of schizophrenia.


About the Speaker

Julia Cassaniti is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Washington State University, with expertise on mental health and religion in transnational Southeast and East Asia. She is the author of Living Buddhism: Mind, Self, and Emotion in a Thai Community (Cornell University Press, 2005) and Remembering the Present: Mindfulness in Buddhist Asia (Cornell University Press 2018), along with articles in journals of Buddhist studies, cultural psychiatry, and anthropological theory.  

The Medical Humanities Research Workshop is sponsored by the Stanford Humanities Center. The series is made possible by support from Linda Randall Meier, the Mellon Foundation, & the National Endowment for the Humanities. Please register in advance to receive a link to this hybrid event. Please email Bilal Nadeem (bnadeem@stanford.edu) with any questions.