Robert B. Lemelson, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Anthropologist, UCLA Semel Institute; Adjunct Assistant Professor, UCLA Department of Anthropology
 

Contact Information

UCLA Department of Anthropology
Box 951553, Haines 387
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1553
On-campus mail: 155303
Tel: (310) 454-5904
Fax: (310) 454-1417
E-mail: lemelson@ucla.edu


Biosketch

 

An anthropologist who received his master's degree from the University of Chicago and his doctoral degree from the University of California-Los Angeles, Dr. Robert Lemelson is currently a research anthropologist in Center for Culture and Health, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the Semel Institute of Neurosciences at UCLA, and an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. He was a Fulbright scholar in Indonesia in 1996-97. He has worked for the World Health Organization and is additionally trained as a clinical psychologist. His areas of specialty are Southeast-Asian studies, psychological anthropology, and transcultural psychiatry.

Dr. Lemelson has recently published in the journals Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, and Transcultural Psychiatry, among others. His co-edited volume, Understanding Trauma: Integrating Biological, Clinical, and Cultural Perspectives, was published in early 2007 by Cambridge University Press.

As a documentary filmmaker and psychological anthropologist, Dr. Lemelson's work focuses on personal experience, culture, and mental illness in Indonesia and the United States. He has been conducting anthropological research in Indonesia since 1993. Dr. Lemelson has completed his most recent film entitled 40 Years of Silence: an Indonesian Tragedy, a feature length documentary about the traumatic long-term effects of Indonesia's 1965 mass killings on four families. He also directed and produced the Afflictions: Culture and Mental Illness in Indonesia series, a Limited Series Award Nominee for the 2010 IDA Documentary Awards. The three-part series, shot over the course of 12 years in Bali and Java, Indonesia, is a result of longitudinal ethnographic fieldwork exploring the relationship between culture, mental illness, and personal experience. He is also the CEO and founder of Elemental Productions.

Dr. Lemelson is the founder and the president of the Foundation for Psychocultural Research (The FPR), whose mission is to advance and support interdisciplinary research and training in neuroscience, psychiatry, and anthropology. Dr. Lemelson also serves as a director, co-Vice President and Secretary of The Lemelson Foundation, a family foundation whose mission is to promote innovation and invention in American society and the developing world. Dr Lemelson also supports the UCLA Indonesian Studies Program, which was created in 2008. It is part of UCLA's Center for Southeast Asian Studies, which is housed at the UCLA International Institute.


 

Selected References

Kirmayer, L. J., Lemelson, R., Barad, M. (Eds.) (2007) Understanding Trauma: Integrating Biological, Clinical, and Cultural Perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Lemelson R. (2004) "Traditional Healing and it's Discontents: Efficacy and Traditional Therapies of Neuropsychiatric Disorders in Bali, in Medical Anthropology Quarterly 18(1):48-76.

Lemelson R, Suryani L.K. (2003) "Cultural Formulation of Psychiatric Diagnoses: The Spirits, Penyakit Ngeb and the Social Suppression Of Memory: A Complex Clinical Case from Bali", submitted to Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry

Lemelson R. (2003) "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Bali: The Cultural Shaping of a Neuropsychiatric Disorder" in Transcultural Psychiatry, Vol.40(3) (pp.377-408)

Lemelson R. (2001) "Strange Maladies," Psychology Today, December 2001


Ethnographic Films

Afflictions: Culture and Mental Illness in Indonesia is a three part series, shot over the course of 12 years in Bali and Java, Indonesia, as a result of longitudinal ethnographic fieldwork conducted by psychological anthropologist Robert Lemelson, exploring the relationship between culture, mental illness and personal experience.

Through a trilogy of person-centered case studies, Afflictions seeks to address a series of questions about mental illness, difference, and deviance. Shadows & Illuminations addresses how to understand personal experiences considered bizarre or beyond the boundaries of normal. The Bird Dancer addresses how to understand stigma, difference, and the nature of suffering. Family Victim addresses how to understand those who are troublesome or disruptive in their social world.

40 Years of Silence: an Indonesian Tragedy

Movements and Madness: Gusti Ayu