Project Team

Romain Tiquet, Principal Investigator

Trained in history and political science, I have explored several research themes that focused on the history of the police, forced labour, prisons and, more broadly, the repression of urban marginality in West Africa (essentially Senegal and Burkina Faso). In the continuity of this work I got the chance to become the PrincipaI Investigator (PI) of MaDAf. This project proposes to draw a comparative history of madness during decolonization and beyond independance in several African territories.

In this project I will investigate two lines of research : 1. to build a social and political history of (post)colonial Senegal and Burkina Faso through the use of psychiatric patient files. 2. To look at how political authorities govern and repress the “mad” after the independence in order to erase them from the society in a context of national construction

Romain Tiquet

Nancy Rose Hunt, Ethical Adviser

I am working on madness, psychiatry, and mental health care in Africa, with attention to metaphors, diagnostic categories, and street vagrants, as well as psychiatric interventions in zones of conflict, migratory politics, and securitization. My next book will be a historical ethnography of madness in and outside of a psychiatric hospital in the Congolese post-conflict, border city of Bukavu.

Gina Aït Mehdi, Postdoc

Graduated in Political and Social Sciences from ULB (Université libre de Bruxelles) where I am associate member of the LAMC (Laboratoire d’Anthropologie des Mondes Contemporains). My doctoral research focuses on the ordinary care of madness in Niamey (Niger) through an anthropology sensitive to the ethics of care. The fieldwork in psychiatry and with its users was articulated around three main thematic axes: the daily life of psychiatry, the logics of (dis)engagement(s) in care, and the production of subjectivities.

Building on these previous works My participation in MaDAf will allow me to interrogate the history of madness in West Africa from the perspective of ‘chronicity’. Situated at the crossroads of micro-history and the anthropology of madness, this research invites us to explore new spaces, between ordinary government and marginality(ies), based on a comparative study between Niger and Senegal.

Gina Aït Mehdi

Camille Evrard, Postdoc

My doctoral researches in history (PhD completed in 2015 at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) were based on an institutional approach to the armed forces in Mauritania during decolonization. I then worked on the history of the military in Mauritania, Niger and Mali during the late colonial and early post-colonial years, with a particular focus on the comparative history of post-colonial Sahelian-Saharan state-building and policing, from the perspective of men in uniform.

“My participation in MaDAf will allow me to study the memories of war trauma experienced by African soldiers during two distinct periods (late colonial and postcolonial times) and the “ordinary” madness of the military world, hypothesizing that power and impunity, combined with the means of violence in an authoritarian postcolonial context, expose men in uniform to forms of mental illness. Finally, I will be interested in how the institution ends up normalizing forms of psychopathology.”

Camille Evrard

Paul Marquis, Postdoc

Graduated from Sciences Po Paris and holder of the Aggregation of History. I defended my thesis in 2021, under the direction of Richard Keller and Guillaume Piketty. In this work, I developed a social history of colonial psychiatry in Algeria between the 1930s and 1960s. My research is situated between the history of colonial and military psychiatry, the social history of populations in the twentieth century and the history of colonial worlds. It is also interested in the articulation of qualitative and quantitative methods.

“My two-year post-doctoral project in participation with MadAf will allow me to focus on the psychiatric care of West and North African colonial soldiers in metropolitan institutions between the Great War and the late 1960s.”

Paul Marquis

Raphaël Gallien, Associated Phd student

Currently a PhD candidate at the University Paris Cité (CESSMA). Conceived as a historical anthropology, my research explores the various itineraries of the “insane” in Madagascar in order to question the articulation between individual subjectivities, (post)colonial daily life, and political and social recompositions. Without reducing madness to psychiatry and going beyond a purely clinical or administrative history, my objective is to give a large place to the diversity of actors in all their plurality and subjectivity in order to question who, in this context, is designated as mad, the implications that result from this, and the routine that emerges.

My participation in MaDAf will allow me to extend this research beyond the colonial moment to question the continuities and ruptures that can be observed after the 1960s and up to the early 2000s. The question of repression, of self-invention, of trauma, or of the polyphony of social and political trajectories are all issues that I hope to explore in this research program.

Raphaël Gallien

Rafaela Nunes, (2021-2022)

Initially trained in the dental arts in Brazil, I came to France in search of challenges. Currently in a master’s degree at Aix Marseille University, I am focusing on the research of ethics in anthropology and more specifically in medical conflicts.

“My brief participation in MaDAf will help me understand the issue of ethics in research by observing and querying my colleagues. I am lucky to be mentored by the Inspiring Romain Tiquet, an asset in writing my dissertation.”

Rafaela Nunes
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