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Orkideh Behrouzan


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Orkideh Behrouzan MD, PhD 

2015. Visiting Fellow (autumn semester), Center for International Studies (CIS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

2014-15 fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)

2010-2012. Assistant Professor in Medical Anthropology. Institute for the Medical Humanities (IMH), University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB)

2010. Ph.D., History and Anthropology of Science, Technology and Society (HASTS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, U.S.A

2002-2005. Research Fellow in Molecular Genetics. Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, U.K. 

2004. UK Medical Board

2002. M.D., Faculty of Medicine, Tehran University, Iran


Orkideh Berhouzan is a physician, medical anthropologist, and anthropologist of science and technology. Her research is committed to interdisciplinary approaches to mental health, with primary focus on two interrelated areas: social ruptures and memory in the Middle East, and comparative research on medicine and technology. She was selected as a 2014-15 fellow by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), for work on her first book, Prozāk Diaries: Psychiatry and Generational Memory in Iran (Stanford University Press, 2016). Combining anthropological and psychoanalytical frameworks, Prozāk Diaries is a historically informed ethnography of emerging psychiatric discourses and psychiatric selves in Iran. It examines individual, professional, and generational cultures of medicalisation in various sites from clinical encounters and psychiatric training, to intimate interviews, works of art, and Persian blogs. Behrouzan is the Winner of 2011 Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award in Social Sciences [Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA)] and has received fellowships from international bodies including Social Science Research Council (SSRC), Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Wellcome Trust. She has also worked as cultural and policy consultant in areas of health and conflict in both the US and the UK, and recently served as expert adviser for Medact’s Health Impact Assessment (HIA) report, which draws on the health consequence of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988).

She has taught undergraduate, postgraduate, and medical school courses in medical anthropology, social medicine, history and anthropology of psychiatry, science and technology studies, global health policy, and humanities and ethics practicum (for medical students). In her role as the Department's Study Abroad Tutor, she provides departmental/programme specific guidance to incoming Study Abroad students on academic and pastoral issues, as well as act as a Personal Tutor to incoming Study Abroad students. As the director of the department’s international partnerships and international exchanges, she coordinates the department's collaborations and faculty exchanges with other universities. She is the chair of the department’s interdisciplinary research group Culture Medicine and Power (CMP). The group welcomes graduate students interested in social, cultural, historical and political dimensions of health and medicine.

Behrouzan has recently initiated the collaborative, interdisciplinary, and multi-cited project Beyond 'Trauma': Emergent Agendas for Understanding Mental Health in the Middle East. The project aims to bring together scholars, practitioners, and policymaker, towards an inclusive approach to psychological wellbeing, by foregrounding the compelling role of diverse cultural practices, historical conditions, movement of displaced individuals, and medical pedagogies in shaping the afterlife of social ruptures. In light of today’s rapid transformations in the region, the project responds to the pressing need for a cultural critique of dominant PTSD-focused paradigms in health practice and policy. (For updates, please see:

Research areas

  • Psychological afterlife of war
  • Conflict and Health policy  
  • History and Anthropology of Psychiatry
  • Narratives of illness
  • Memory, war, displacement
  • Medicine and psychiatry in the Middle East
  • History of psychiatry and psychoanalysis in Iran
  • Technology and self

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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