Knot of the Soul

Madness, Psychoanalysis, Islam

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Stefania Pandolfo
  • Chicago, IL: 
    University of Chicago Press
    , April
     2018.
     384 pages.
     $37.50.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9780226465081.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Samuel Kigar forthcoming.

Description

Through a dual engagement with the unconscious in psychoanalysis and Islamic theological-medical reasoning, Stefania Pandolfo’s unsettling and innovative book reflects on the maladies of the soul at a time of tremendous global upheaval. Drawing on in-depth historical research and testimonies of contemporary patients and therapists in Morocco, Knot of the Soul offers both an ethnographic journey through madness and contemporary formations of despair and a philosophical and theological exploration of the vicissitudes of the soul.
 
Knot of the Soul moves from the experience of psychosis in psychiatric hospitals, to the visionary torments of the soul in poor urban neighborhoods, to the melancholy and religious imaginary of undocumented migration, culminating in the liturgical stage of the Qur’anic cure. Demonstrating how contemporary Islamic cures for madness address some of the core preoccupations of the psychoanalytic approach, she reveals how a religious and ethical relation to the “ordeal” of madness might actually allow for spiritual transformation.
 
This sophisticated and evocative work illuminates new dimensions of psychoanalysis and the ethical imagination while also sensitively examining the collective psychic strife that so many communities endure today.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Stefania Pandolfo is Professor and Director of the UC Berkeley Medical Anthropology Program on Critical Studies in Medicine, Science, and the Body at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Impasse of the Angels.

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