Susannah Deane's British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship project
3 March 2021
In March 2021, Susannah Deane will complete her British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship project, ‘Madness, mental health and Buddhism: an examination of smyo nad (‘madness’) in the Tibetan context’. Having conducted twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork within Tibetan communities in Qinghai, China, in 2018 and 2019, Susannah is working on a monograph preliminarily entitled, ‘From enlightenment to psychosis: Tibetan medical and religious perspectives on ‘madness’, based on interviews with Tibetan religious and medical specialists and lay Tibetans in Qinghai, alongside examination of Tibetan religious and medical texts. The research explores how intertwining Tibetan Tantric and medical concepts of mind-body structure and functioning, and understanding of humans’ relationships with spirits and deities of the Tibetan landscape, come together to inform ideas about the causation and treatment of different forms of ‘madness’, taking in spirit affliction, disordered ‘wind’ energy, medicinal therapies, and Buddhist and Bon rituals.