Ecology and Mental Health in India

Ecology and Mental Health in India

Wednesday, 30 October 2019 - 5:00pm
Venue: 
Pavillion Room, St Antony's College
Speaker(s): 
Sushrut Jadhav (UCL)
Maan Barua (Cambridge)
Series: 
Asian Studies Seminar

This keynote traces the fault lines that cut through the cultural landscape cohabitated by elephants, people and mental health professionals to propose an ecology of mental health. Based on ethnographic fieldwork by a human geographer and a clinician anthropologist in North East India, the case studies presented unpack hidden mental health dimensions of human-elephant conflict. These conflicts are enacted and perpetuated in institutional spaces of inequality, including mental institutions and landscape riven by plantation economies and colonial forestry. The authors argue that a profound disconnection between local ecologies and community mental health disciplines, together with a failure of disciplinary imagination worsens existing pre-existing mental illness of marginalised people. Postcolonial landscapes have parallel bearings on the lives of Elephants, altering their ethologies and ecologies of dwelling. The keynote concludes by generating questions that are fundamental for a new interdisciplinary paradigm that bridges Ecology and The Clinic.

This talk is part of a two-day conference called Mental Health in India – Bridging the Gap that will take a multi-dimensional look at mental health in India.