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New MSCA Individual Fellow Sandro Passavanti to start at CML in September 2020

Sandro Passavanti will be working on a project titled “Being ‘Mad’ in Byzantium. Toward a History of Mental Disorders in Early and Middle Greek Middle Ages”

CML is pleased to announce that our fourth Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellow, Sandro Passavanti will start at SDU in September 2020. Sandro currently holds a post-doctoral fellowship at theLaboratoire d’Excellence ‘Religions et Sociétés dans le Monde Méditérraneen’ (RESMED) in Paris, where he is carrying out the project Les maladies psychiques et leur statut à l’époque tardoantique et byzantine : phénomènes d’origine naturelle ou démoniaque? At CML he will be working with Aglae Pizzone on a project titled “Being ‘Mad’ in Byzantium. Toward a History of Mental Disorders in Early and Middle Greek Middle Ages.”

While at CML, Sandro will explore Byzantine medical views on mental disorders and their impact on narratives, perceptions and experiences of mental illness in the Greek Middle Ages. The Byzantine world is most notably absent from cultural and historical surveys on madness and medicine in pre-modern societies. And yet Byzantium tells a story worth hearing. Byzantine responses to cognitive and behavioral disorders show a remarkable epistemic pluralism, which captures the biological, psychological and social complexity of mental illness. By investigating how medical concepts trickle down and affect folk concepts of madness, Sandro challenges the master narrative according to which the Greek Middle Ages understood mental illness only in supernatural terms. His research will be an essential stepping-stone toward a better understanding of the history and the circulation of key scientific ideas in the Middle Ages. By engaging with the entanglements and conflicts between concepts of mental disorders, Sandro will also investigate the place occupied by the mentally ill within their socio-familiar and broader institutional framework. In so doing, Sandro’s research will impact on the way we look at the past and at the present of mental illness, questioning our views and assumptions on key issues of stigmatization and institutionalization, as well as of segregation and inclusion, which are at the heart of mental health policies promoted by the OECD and the EU.

Editing was completed: 11.02.2020