Byron Good

Byron Good

Professor of Medical Anthropology
Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Byron Good

Research and Teaching Interests

Medical, psychological, and psychiatric anthropology; primary research on serious mental illness in Java and traumatic violence in Aceh (Indonesia); studies of subjectivity in Indonesia, on haunting, ‘hauntology,’ and historical memory.

Prof. Good is a medical, psychological and psychiatric anthropologist. Prof. Good has been carrying out research focused on studies of subjectivity, culture and mental illness in Indonesia since 1996 – on studies of psychosis and the development of mental health services in Yogyakarta, Java, and on humanitarianism and mental health responses to traumatic violence in Aceh.  He has conducted and led studies of early experiences of psychosis in Indonesia, as well as comparative projects of first episode psychosis in Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, and the U.S.  Prof. Good, Prof. Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good, and Jesse Grayman collaborated with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on studying levels of violence experienced by villagers in high conflict districts of Aceh, and on developing mental health services, using mental heath outreach teams, for 75 high conflict villages in Aceh.  This led to USAID-supported programs aimed at improving public mental health care in Aceh and Yogyakarta, and most recently to a project supported by the Harvard-Dubai Center for Global Health Delivery to build new models of mental health care in Yogyakarta.  Prof. Good is also Co-Director of a 15-year Fogarty International Center training program, carried out in collaboration with leading mental health centers in Shanghai and Beijing, which supports the development of capacity for using research to improve mental health care in China.

Prof. Good’s broader anthropological interests focus on the theorization of subjectivity in contemporary societies — on the relation of political, cultural, and psychological renderings of the subject and experience, with a special interest in Indonesia.  He continues to investigate how psycho-cultural processes structure the onset, experience, and course of psychiatric disorders, including psychotic illness and PTSD. His most recent work focuses on what Derrida calls hauntology, on ethnographic studies of haunting, particularly in relation to violence and historical memory.

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information

Tozzer Anthropology Building 408
21 Divinity Ave.
Cambridge MA 02138
p: (617) 495-3904