British Psychological Society and UCL Centre for the History of Psychological Disiciplines Seminar

Monday 6th October
Professor Roland Littlewood (UCL Anthropology and Department of Mental Health Sciences)

The Advent of the Adversary: Negative Power in Certain Religio-Therapeutic Systems?

New ‘religio-therapeutic systems’ commonly start with a relatively straightforward ethical injunction or healing faculty. With time, recognised failures, together with internal or external criticisms, appear, for which the action of a new countervailing power or principle, formerly opposed to the initial one, provides the explanation. The two together a new dynamic of power and counter-power. The instances considered here are Christian Science, Reichian energetics, Freudian psychoanalysis and- arguably- their source in Christianity. Some speculations on this complementary opposition are offered.

Roland Littlewood is trained as a psychiatrist and social anthropologist, who has worked extensively on transcultural psychiatry. He is author of Pathologies of the West: An Anthropology of Mental Illness in Europe and America (2002), The Butterfly and the Serpent: Essays in Psychiatry, Race and Religion (1998), and Pathology and Identity: The Work of Mother Earth in Trinidad (2006).

Organiser: Professor Sonu Shamdasani (UCL)

Time: 6pm to 7.30 pm.

Location:  Arts and Humanities Common Room (G24), Foster Court, Malet Place, University College London.


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