Gestures of Care: An Ethnography of Mental Health Reform

Friday, Apr 24, 2015 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm

Paul Brodwin, Ph.D. (Professor of Medical Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

"Gestures of Care: An Ethnography of Mental Health Reform"

Abstract:  This paper explores how to study care – as intervention, affect and relational field – in impersonal bureaucratic institutions. Recent fieldwork in mental health courts (a reform effort aimed at reducing the incarceration of people with severe psychiatric disorders) reveals several dimensions of care in the absence of significant intimacy between courtroom staff members and defendant/patients. The braided logics of psychiatry and criminal justice produce a distinctive form of care, embedded in the foundational inequalities of this setting.

Lunch will be available for attendees who confirm before 8:00am on Tuesday, April 21.  (Please be advised that we require reservations because of university policy; we must submit a list of confirmed attendees when placing our catering order. In addition, we may need to move to a larger venue depending on audience size; reservations permit us to contact attendees ahead of time.)

Seating is limited; reservations are required. Reservations may be made contacting History & Special Collections for the Sciences (voice: 310.825.6940; email:

This UCLA History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Forum (this is the 27th meeting of the series) is made possible by the History & Social Studies of Medicine Program, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; and by History & Special Collections for the Sciences, UCLA Library Special Collections.