Genocide and Mass Violence: Memory, Symptom, and Intervention Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights

Genocide and Mass Violence: Memory, Symptom, and Intervention Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights
Rutgers University
September 17-18, 2009

Organizers: Alex Hinton (Rutgers University) and Devon Hinton (Massachusetts General Hospital)

This interdisciplinary conference included over 25 participants, including several international speakers, from psychological anthropology, medical anthropology, social medicine, psychiatry, public health, and psychology. It examined the legacies of genocide and mass violence on individuals and the social worlds in which they live, with particular attention to the local processes of recovery from that legacy. The workshop was specifically geared to examine these issues from a comparative perspective, as participants explored the legacy of mass trauma and genocide on multiple social levels, including how trauma is processed on those various levels and the consequences of those ways of processing the trauma. Many participants scrutinized the effects of these processes on recovery for members of that group, and how, when appropriate, interventions aid recovery. Along the way, workshop participants considered a range of questions, including how is trauma understood, experienced, treated, and coped with in different societies; how ongoing reconciliation processes and collective representations of the trauma impact victims; how trauma endures in symptoms and syndromes; how the effects of trauma are transmitted across the generations in memory, ritual, symptom, and interpersonal processes; how local healing traditions attempt to bring about cure; how Western-derived treatments for trauma change, are experienced, and are received; and how these issues vary depending on the subgroups within the population in question.

An edited volume of essays from the conference, Mass Trauma: Memory, Symptom, and Response, is forthcoming on Cambridge University Press.

Alex Hinton
Rutgers University

Alex Hinton is Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, and Human Rights and Professor of Anthropology and Global Affairs and at Rutgers University, Newark. He is the author of the award-winning Why Did They Kill? Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide (California, 2005) and six edited or co-edited collections, Transitional Justice: Global Mechanisms and Local Realities after Genocide and Mass Violence (Rutgers, 2010), Genocide: Truth, Memory, and Representation (Duke, 2009), Night of the Khmer Rouge: Genocide and Democracy in Cambodia (Paul Robeson Gallery, 2007), Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide (California, 2002), Genocide: An Anthropological Reader (Blackwell, 2002), and Biocultural Approaches to the Emotions (Cambridge, 1999). He is currently working on several other book projects, including a co-edited volume on the legacies of genocide and mass violence and a book on the Khmer Rouge tribunal. He serves as an Academic Advisor to the Documentation Center of Cambodia, on the International Advisory Boards of the Journal of Genocide Research and Genocide Studies and Prevention, as co-editor of the CGHR-Rutgers University Press book series, “Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights” and as the First Vice-President and Executive Board member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. In 2009, Alex Hinton received the Robert B. Textor and Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology “for his groundbreaking 2005 ethnography Why Did They Kill? Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide, for path-breaking work in the anthropology of genocide, and for developing a distinctively anthropological approach to genocide.”
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Devon Hinton
Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Devon Hinton is a board-certified psychiatrist and an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. After receiving his M.D., Dr. Hinton completed his medical internship and his residency in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (Longwood program). He also has a Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from Harvard University. Dr. Hinton’s major clinical and research interests include the culturally sensitive assessment and treatment of PTSD and panic disorder in traumatized refugee and ethnic minority populations. He is fluent in several languages, including Cambodian and Spanish. He has served as a principal investigator on numerous studies examining the phenomenology and treatment of PTSD, panic attacks, and panic disorder in Southeast Asian (Cambodian, Laotian, Vietnamese) and Latino populations. Dr. Hinton has been the Principal Investigator on studies funded by the National Institute of Mental Health on developing culturally sensitive treatment of traumatized refugees. Dr. Hinton is a member of the DSM-V Cultural Study subgroup and an advisor to the Anxiety, OC, Posttraumatic, and Dissociative Disorders Work Group of DSM-V (American Psychiatric Association). He is the co-editor (with Byron Good) of the book, Culture and Panic Disorder (Stanford University Press), and is the first author on over 70 chapters or original research articles.
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