Anthropology Seminar | PTSD and Trauma in Indonesia: Casting Light on Violence by Prof Hans Pols
Thursday 15th April 3:00pm – 5:00pm via Zoom*. For further queries please contact Seminar Convener Dr Ryan Schram
There is currently a rich literature criticising the global application of PTSD by western humanitarian groups as an imperialist and neo-colonial exercise that exports diagnoses inappropriate for non-western contexts and thereby disables effective cultural coping strategies. The global application of PTSD has also been portrayed as a misguided attempt to provide individualised technocratic solutions which ignore the structural sources of violence. In this presentation, I argue that instead of focusing on the west, we need to investigate why, how, and by who PTSD and “trauma” are interpreted, appropriated in non-Western contexts. In this presentation, I will discuss the reception of the concepts of “trauma” and PTSD by Indonesian mental health professionals, activists, and social commentators in Indonesia. I commence with the urban riots preceding the fall of Suharto’s dictatorial regime in 1998. In following decades, concepts of “trauma” and PTSD have primarily been used by feminist organisations and other activist groups to cast light on various forms of personal and political violence which until then had not been discussed publicly.
About the speaker:
Hans Pols is interested in the history, sociology, and anthropology of medicine. He currently focuses on the history of colonial and postcolonial medicine in Southeast Asia. The history and sociology of psychiatry holds his special interest. Affiliated with the School of History and Philosophy of Science at The University of Sydney.
* Join via the following Zoom link: https://uni-sydney.zoom.us/j/81963268265