Stefania Pandolfo: “Maladies of the Soul, Islam, and the Affirmative Imagination”

Stefania Pandolfo: “Maladies of the Soul, Islam, and the Affirmative Imagination”

Stefania Pandolfo is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. Her books include Impasse of the Angels: Scenes from a Moroccan Space of Memory (Chicago, 1997) and The Knot of the Soul (forthcoming) on the experience of trauma and madness in the context of psychiatry and contemporary Islam. Her anthropological work unfolds at the interface of psychoanalysis, critical theory, Islamic thought, and local healing traditions.

Based on conversations with a Moroccan Imam on the question of melancholy in a context of social and political dispossession, and on ethnographic work with a painter reflecting on form, delusion, and destruction, this paper addresses the imagination—affirmative and destructive—in terms of a specific Islamic vocabulary and tradition that is today mobilized for critique, and in dialogue with a psychoanalytic approach to the Real.

Co-sponsored by the Psychoanalysis & Sexuality Research Cluster.