Disturbing Spirits: Mental Illness, Trauma, and Treatment in Modern Syria and Lebanon by Beverly A. Tsacoyianis (University of Notre Dame Press, 2021) investigates the psychological toll of conflict in the Middle East during the twentieth century, including a discussion of how spiritual and religious frameworks influence practice and theory. Blending social, cultural, and medical history research methods with approaches in disability and trauma studies, it demonstrates that the history of mental illness in Syria and Lebanon since the 1890s is embedded in disparate—but not necessarily mutually exclusive—ideas about legitimate healing.
Dr. Beverly Tsacoyianis, is Associate Professor of History at the University of Memphis. Her research has focused so far on the history of mental illness in Lebanon and Syria, and she is currently collecting data for two other projects: one on disability, public health, and trauma in Israel and Palestine and one on the politics of health in Jewish and Muslim communities in Spanish, French, and postcolonial Morocco. She engages in peace and conflict studies with a commitment to diversity and inclusion. This has included research in, and community engagement with, social justice and disability rights activism both in the US and abroad.
Dr. Isabel Machado is an independent researcher and serves as reviews editor for the Oral History Journal.