Deborah Jenson, PhD

Professor of Romance Studies and Global Health, Harvard University

Website | ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0885-5447

Deborah Jenson (PhD Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University, 1994) is Professor of Romance Studies and Global Health at Duke University. She also serves as Director of the Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI), through December 2017. Her work in post-revolutionary French and Haitian literature and culture has always engaged with trauma on a literary level, but after the Haitian earthquake of 2010, she began researching global mental health, cholera, and neurodiversity, leading to her secondary appointment at the Duke Global Health Institute. Her current health humanities work focuses on the Haitian role in the creation of ethnopsychiatry, and French novelists’ representations of their own health experiences in their characters’ bodies. Books include: Trauma and Its Representations: The Social Life of Mimesis; Beyond the Slave Narrative: Politics, Sex, and Manuscripts in the Haitian Revolution; Poetry of Haitian Independence (with Kadish and Shapiro); and Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignty (with Anderson and Keller). Recent articles include “Living by Metaphor in the Haitian Revolution: Tigers and Cognitive Theory” in The Haitian Declaration of Independence (ed. Gaffield) and “Adrian and Marcel Proust: Fathering Neurasthenic Memory” in Being Contemporary (ed. Brozgal and Kippur). A co-authored book with Bonnie Kaiser, Hunter Keys, and Brandon Kohrt is forthcoming on Trauma and Mental Health in Haiti: Humanitarian Emergencies (Routledge).

Global Psychoanalysis, Global Psychiatry; Colonial and Post-Colonial Health, Medicine, and Religion; the history of infectious diseases in colonial and postcolonial spaces; Cognitive Literary Theory; Embodiment; Storytelling in Health and Medicine