Deborah Jenson, Professor of Romance Studies and Duke Global Health Institute and Faculty Network Member of Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and Director of John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute
I take the broad mandate of the humanist very seriously: my research is diverse. In the field of neuroscience and the humanities, my work includes an article on mirror neurons and literary bio-mimesis with neuropsychiatrist Marco Iacoboni, a course called "Flaubert's Brain: Neurohumanities," and several projects related to traumatic stress, cognition, and culture.
In the arena of Global Health and the History of Medicine, we are working with Haiti Lab students on topics ranging from the history of cholera in Haiti and the Caribbean (see our article and digital map in Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2011) to the history of anthropological psychiatry in Haiti, to post-disaster mental health.
I am also researching slaves' African ethnic identities in 18th century Saint-Domingue through study of ads for runaway slaves.
- Contact Info:
|Office Location: ||205 Language Center, Durham, NC 27708|
|Email Address: |
Teaching (Fall 2015):
Teaching (Spring 2016):
- GLHLTH 323.01, TRAUMA & MENTAL HEALTH, HAITI
- Smith Wrhs 177, TuTh 03:05 PM-04:20 PM
- (also cross-listed as ROMST 220.01)
- FRENCH 790S.01, TOPICS IN FRENCH STUDIES
- Languages 305, M 04:40 PM-07:10 PM
|M.A.||University of Paris (France)||1985|
|B.A.|| Bowdoin College||1983|
- Research Interests: French and Haitian Studies; Global Health; "Neurohumanities"
Haitian Ethnopsychiatry, Trauma and Global Mental Health, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Flaubert and Epilepsy, Literary Representations of the Brain
I take the broad mandate of the humanist very seriously. The overlapping problems of representation and imitation in "mimesis" are at the heart of my research and teaching, but the contexts in which I explore them are diverse. Trauma, as crisis in the continuity of internal representations of the real, reveals the complexity of mimetic experience. Historical transitions to new forms of representation, such as the adoption of the political proclamation by former slaves in the Haitian revolution, teach us to see literary conventions, or literacy itself, with new eyes. Neuroscientific exploration of "mirror neurons" raises the question of whether we form cognitive imitations of others' experience simply by observing their motor actions. In summary, my linguistic, literary, and historiographical skills can be directed to French literature, Haitian studies, trauma and global mental health, or "neurohumanities."
- Caribbean Region • Cholera • Haiti • History, 19th Century • Humans • Poetry
- Secondary Appointment, Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI)
Graduate Faculty, Women's Studies
Faculty Affiliate, the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (DIBS)
Co-Director, Haiti Lab
Co-Director, Brain & Society, Bass Connections
Co-Director, Duke Neurohumanities in Paris
Co-Convener, Neurohumanities Research Group
- Representative Publications
- Deborah Jenson, Beyond the Slave Narrative: Politics, Sex, and Manuscripts in the Haitian Revolution
(2011; paperback 2012),
pp. 322, Liverpool University Press
- Deborah Jenson (with Warwick Anderson and Richard E. Keller), Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignties
pp. 328, Duke University Press
- Conferences Organized
- Director : 3rd Annual Romance Studies Undergraduate Research Conference. March 2013, Director, March, 2013
- Selection Committee, Nineteenth-Century French Studies Conference. December 17, 2012, December 2012
- Orgaanizer : 'Old' Worlds, 'New' Worlds, Future Worlds Romance Studies Undergraduate Research Conference. March 2012, Orgaanizer, March, 2012
- Selection Committee, NIneteenth-Century French Studies Conference. 2011, 2011
- Co-Organizer : Haiti Lab Workshop, "Unveiling the Colonial System": The Baron de Vastey and the Henry Christophe Regime. December 2011, Co-Organizer, December, 2011
- PFIRST Workshop, "Discourses of Trauma in Haiti" (Co-Organizer). November 2011, November, 2011
- Co-Organizer (with Michaeline Crichlow (Duke, Sociology and AAAS, Patricia Northover (UWI, SALISES), Matthew Smith (UWI, History, Faculty of the Human, Co-Organizer (with Michaeline Crichlow (Duke, Sociology and AAAS, Patricia Northover (UWI, SALISES), Matthew Smith (UWI, History, Faculty of the Human, June 18-19, 2010