SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Dr Orkideh Behrouzan

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Publications


Behrouzan Orkideh -ob8 -ANT
Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Senior Lecturer in Anthropology

SOAS Middle East Institute (SMEI)

Member of Board of Trustees

Centre for Iranian Studies


Centre for Gender Studies


Dr Orkideh Behrouzan
Email address:
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Please see bio for details


Office Hours -

Online: Mondays, 11am-2pm  

In person: Wednesdays, 3 - 5pm

Please sign up for your slot via the Google document.

Orkideh Behrouzan is a physician, medical anthropologist, and the author of Prozak Diaries: Psychiatry and Generational Memory in Iran (2016, Stanford University Press). Before joining the department in 2017, she taught at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine (GHSM) at King’s College London. Prior to that, she was assistant professor of Medical Anthropology at the Institute for the Medical Humanities (IMH) at University of Texas. Behrouzan received her PhD in History and Anthropology of Science and Technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is a 2015-16 fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the winner of the 2011 Kerr Award from the Middle Eastern Studies Association. For more please visit orkidehbehrouzan.



Programmes Convened
Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Kiara Wickremasinghe, Innovation in Psychiatric Crisis Care: An Ethnographic Investigation into Peer-Supported Open Dialogue (POD) in Inner London (working title)

Orkideh Behrouzan has taught undergraduate, postgraduate, and medical school courses in medical anthropology, social medicine, critical bioethics, history and anthropology of psychiatry, science and technology studies, Middle East studies, and global health.



Orkideh Behrouzan is an anthropologist of medicine, science, and technology. Her research focuses on the inter-relation between socio-historical and psychological processes, primarily in relation to mental health, social ruptures, memory, and subjectivity. She is a 2015-16 fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the winner of the 2011 Kerr Award from the Middle Eastern Studies Association as well as fellowships from several foundations including Social Science Research Council (SSRC), Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Wellcome Trust. Her first book, Prozāk Diaries: Psychiatry and Generational Memory in Iran (Stanford University Press, 2016) is an ethnographic analysis of emerging psychiatric discourses in post-1980s Iran. Combining anthropological and psychoanalytical frameworks, the book is an interdisciplinary exploration of language and memory among youth in the aftermath of the 1979 Revolution and the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War. In asking how psychiatric dialect became a language of everyday, the book analyses the cultural, generational, and political meaning of medicalisation in various sites, from clinical encounters and psychiatric training to intimate interviews, works of art, media, and Persian blogs. Investigating the grey areas between individual symptoms and generational remembering, the book reveals how historical experiences are negotiated and how particular generational identifications are formed.

Orkideh Behrouzan currently leads the collaborative, multi-sited project Beyond ''Trauma': Emergent Agendas for Understanding Mental Health in the Middle East. This interdisciplinary project aims to bring together scholars, artists, practitioners, and policymakers, towards an inclusive approach to psychological wellbeing. It also aims to challenge prevailing assumptions about the notion of mental health as well as the region that we have come to call the Middle East. The initiative underscores the compelling role of diverse cultural practices, historical conditions, moral contexts, and medical pedagogies in shaping the afterlife of social ruptures (for details about the first phase of the project please see: Beyond 'Trauma': Workshop on Emergent Agendas). In light of today’s rapid transformations in the region and the movement of displaced individuals, the project responds to the pressing need for a cultural critique of dominant PTSD-focused paradigms in health practice and policy.

Behrouzan has worked as cultural and policy consultant in areas of health, science and technology, education, and conflict, and served as expert adviser for Medact’s Health Impact Assessment (HIA) report on the health consequence of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). She also explores these areas of research in her poetry and short stories in Persian and English. In 2015, her short story 'Binazeer' was adapted into a theatrical performance by director Mehrdad Seyf and was taken to the stage as part of the EAST15 World Performance. The play Binazeer is a love story and a story of remembering, focusing on the psychological afterlife of wars and the lived experience of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and its socio-cultural implications beyond the individual. Bringing near the civilian experience of war and displacement, the performance looks at the complexity of PTSD, exploring visual ways of demonstrating its experience whilst at the same time challenging its conceptual and clinical restrictions. It combines themes of memory, belonging, medicalisation, and the therapeutic encounter. (For more information, please click here.)


Authored Books

Behrouzan, Orkideh (2016) Prozak Diaries: Psychiatry and Generational Memory in Iran. Redwood City: Stanford University Press.

Behrouzan, Orkideh (2016) Prozak Diaries: Psychiatry and Generational Memory in Iran. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.


Behrouzan, Orkideh (2018) 'Ruptures and Their Afterlife: A Cultural Critique of Trauma'. Middle East Topic and Argument (META), (11), pp 131-144.

Behrouzan, Orkideh (2018) 'Remaking the Craft: Reflections on Pedagogy, Ethnography, and Anthropology in Iran.'. American Anthropology, (120) 1, pp 144-147.

Behrouzan, Orkideh (2015) 'Beyond ‘trauma’: Notes on mental health in the Middle East'. Medicine, Anthropology, Theory, (2) 3, pp 1-6.

Behrouzan, Orkideh (2015) 'Medicalization As A Way of Life: The Iran-Iraq War and Considerations for Psychiatry and Anthropology'. Medicine, Anthropology, Theory., (2) 3, pp 40-60.

Behrouzan, Orkideh (2015) 'Medicalisation As A Way of Life: The Iran-Iraq War and considerations for psychiatry and anthropology'. Medicine, Anthropology, Theory, (2) 3, pp 40-60.

Behrouzan, Orkideh and Parkinson, Sarah Elizabeth (2015) 'Negotiating Health and Life: Syrian Refugees and The Politics of Access in Lebanon.'. Social Science and Medicine, (146), pp 324-331.

Behrouzan, Orkideh (2015) 'Writing Prozāk Diaries in Tehran: Generational Anomie and Psychiatric Subjectivities'. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry., (39) 3, pp 399-426.

Behrouzan, Orkideh (2015) 'Beyond ‘Trauma’: Notes on Mental Health in the Middle East.'. Medicine, Anthropology, Theory, (2) 3, pp 1-6.

Book Chapters

Behrouzan, Orkideh and Fischer, Michael M. J. (2014) ''Behaves Like a Rooster and Cries Like a (four-eyed) Canine': The Politics and Poetics of Depression and Psychiatry in Iran'. In: Hinton, Devon E. and Hinton, Alexander L., (eds.), Genocide and Mass Violence: Memory, Symptom, and Recovery. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 105-136.

Behrouzan, Orkideh (2010) 'An epidemic of meanings: HIV and AIDS in Iran and the significance of history, language and gender'. In: Klot, Jennifer F. and Nguyen, Vinh-Kim, (eds.), The Fourth Wave: Violence, Gender, Culture & HIV in the 21st Century. Social Science Research Council; UNESCO, pp 319-346.


Behrouzan, Orkideh (2013) 'The Psychological Impact of the Iraq War' Foreign Policy: Middle East Channel.


This list was last generated on Thursday, 29th September 2022, 02:30 Europe/London.