Grief Project Lecture Series
Grief is an important object of philosophical study and sometimes of clinical concern as well as a signal occasion for artistic expression. This talk will outline a cultural poetics of grief that draws from the framework of 4E cognitive science to consider how the phenomenology of grief emerges from an interplay between embodied processes of emotion (reflecting a coevolutionary cultural biology of grief) and social-discursive processes of self-understanding (elaborated in relation to particular cultural concepts of the person and corresponding forms of life). Metaphoric poiesis is pivotal in this process. This framework can clarify the origin and implications of individual and cultural variations in grief experience and potential pathologies of grief response. It also can illuminate the aesthetic value of grief as vehicle for experiential presence, openness and communal connection.
About the speaker
Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS, FRSC is James McGill Professor and Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Transcultural Psychiatry and directs the Culture & Mental Health Research Unit at the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital, in Montreal, where he conducts research on culturally responsive mental health services, the mental health of Indigenous peoples, psychiatric anthropology, and the philosophy of psychiatry. His publications include the co-edited volumes, Cultural Consultation: Encountering the Other in Mental Health Care (Springer, 2013); Re-Visioning Psychiatry: Cultural Phenomenology, Critical Neuroscience, and Global Mental Health (Cambridge, 2015) and Culture, Mind and Brain: Emerging Concepts, Methods, and Applications (Cambridge, 2020). He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada. Currently, he is also President of the Society for Psychological Anthropology.