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Joelle M. Abi-Rached

Associate Researcher, Medialab, Sciences Po Paris

Lecturer, History of Science, Harvard University

Fellow, Society of Fellows, SOF/Heyman, Columbia University (2017–2019)

Headshot of Joelle M. Abi-Rached

Joelle M. Abi-Rached received her Ph.D. in History of Science from Harvard University (2017). She holds a Medical Doctorate from the American University of Beirut and a Master’s in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics. Her first book co-authored with Nikolas Rose, entitled Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind (Princeton University Press, 2013) explored the genealogy of the neurosciences and their growing salience in the governance and everyday life of neoliberal democracies. Her second book project, which draws on her dissertation, examines the history of modern psychiatric thinking and practice in the Middle East and uses shifting ideas about normality and pathology and ways to manage precarious lives as a lens into broader social, political, and ethical mutations in the region. Her second book, 'Asfuriyyeh: A History of Madness, Modernity, and War in the Middle East (MIT Press, 2020) examines the development of psychiatry in the Middle East, viewed through the history of one of the first modern mental hospitals in the region.

Her work explores themes at the intersection of the value and politics of life from a global perspective and has appeared in publications including the Journal of the History of the Human Sciences and Cambridge Anthropology. It has received support from the French government (Chateaubriand Fellowship), the United Kingdom’s Economic and Social Research Council, Harvard’s Weatherhead’s Center for International Affairs, Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, as well as Sciences Po and Harvard’s exchange fellowship program, among others.

She received the Mildred Londa Weisman Fellowship (2023-2024) at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard.