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Allan Young, PhD

Joyce Young

Dr Young is Professor in the Departments of Social Studies of Medicine, Anthropology and Psychiatry. Dr Young received his graduate training at the University of Pennsylvania and has studied traditional medical practices in Ethiopia and Nepal and conducted ethnographic research on PTSD in a psychiatric inpatient unit for two years in the US. Dr Young's current research interests are:

  • culture and somatization
  • the ethnography of post-traumatic stress disorder
  • anthropology of psychiatry

Dr Young can supervise graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from anthropology and social studies of medicine.

allan [dot] young [at] mcgill [dot] ca (email) website


Selected Articles

Young, A., & Rees, T. (in press). Medical anthropology into the 21st century. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

Young, A. (in press). The myth of the new unconscious. Biosocieties.

Young, A. (2012). The social brain and the myth of empathy. Science in Context 25: 329-352. 

Young, A. (2011). Zeugen, Bezeugen, Geschichte – Vier Versionen des Holocaust-Traumas. Tel Aviver Jahrbuch für deutsche Gerschichte, 186-206.

Young, A. (2011). Self, brain, microbe, and the vanishing commissar. Science, Technology, and Human Values, 36(5), 638-661.

Young, A. (2008). A time to change our minds: Anthropology and psychiatry in the 21st century. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 32, 298-300.

Young, A. (2007). 9/11: In the wake of the terrorist attacks. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 195, 1030-1032.

Young, A., & Breslau, N. (2007). Troublesome memories: Reflections on the future. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 21, 230-232. 

Young, A. (2006). La psychiatrie à la recherche d’un esprit post-génomique. Sciences Sociales et Santé, 24, 117-46.

Young, A. (2006). Remembering the evolutionary Freud. Science in Context, 19, 175-189.

Young, A. (2006). Traumatisme à distance, résilience héroïque et guerre conte le terrorisme. Revue Française de Psychosomatique, 28, 39-62. 

Young, A. (2005). Hope & Despair: How Perceptions of the Future Shape Human Behavior. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 193(9), 636-637.

Young, A. (2005). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Malady or Myth? Transcultural Psychiatry, 42(1), 155-157.

Young, A. (2004). Descriptions and Prescriptions: Values, Mental Disorders, and the DSMs. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 192(2), 167.

Young, A. (2003). Evolutionary narratives about mental disorders. Anthropology & Medicine, 10(2), 239-253.

Goodwin, G. M., Anderson, I., Angst, J., Baldwin, D., Bhagwagar, Z., Cookson, J., Ferrier, N., Frangou, S., Geddes, J., Goodwin, G., Grunze, H., Haddad, P., Harris, A., Hunt, N., Jacoby, R., Jones, P., Kerwin, R., Lam, D., Lingford-Hughes, A., Montgomery, S., Morris, R., Nolen, W., Sachs, G., Sahakian, B., Scott, J. & Young, A. (2003). Evidence-based guidelines for treating bipolar disorder: Recommendations from the British Association for Psychopharmacology. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 17(2), 149-173.

Young, A. (2002). The self-traumatized perpetrator as a "transient mental illness". Évolution Psychiatrique, 67(4), 630-650.

Perry, E. & Young, A. (2002). Neurotransmitter networks. In E. Perry, H. Ashton & A. Young, (Eds), Neurochemistry of consciousness: Neurotransmitters in mind. Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company (pp. 3-24).

Young A. (2001). Our traumatic neurosis and its brain. Science in Context, 14(4), 661-683.

Young, A. (1999). W. H. R. Rivers and the war neuroses. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 35(4), 359-378

Kirmayer, L.J. & Young, A. (1999). Culture and context in the evolutionary concept of mental disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108(3), 446-452.

Young, A. (1999). Concerning the efficacy of focal narratives. Transcultural Psychiatry, 36(4), 461-463.

Kirmayer, L. J. & Young, A. (1998). Culture and somatization: Clinical, epidemiological, and ethnographic perspectives. Psychosomatic Medicine, 60(4), 420-430.

Young, A. (1997). Modi del ragionare e antropologia della medicina. Revista della Soicetá italiana di antopologia medica 3/4: 11-28. (Italian translation of 1976. Magic as quasi-profession: The organization of magic and magical healing among Amhara. Ethnology, 14, 245-265.

Young, A. (1996). Suffering and the origins of traumatic memory. Daedalus, 125, 245-260.

Kirmayer L.J., Young, A. & Hayton, B.C. (1995). The cultural context of anxiety disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 18(3), 503-521.

Young, A. (1995). Reasons and causes for post-traumatic stress disorder. Transcultural Psychiatric Research Review, 32(3), 287-298.

Kirmayer, L.J., Young, A. & Robbins, J.M. (1995). Cultural variations in symptom attribution. [Reply] Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 40(5), 275-276.

Kirmayer, L.J., Young, A. & Robbins, J.M. (1994). Symptom attribution in cultural perspective. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 39(10), 584-595.

Young A. (1988). Psychiatry and self in Bible and Talmud: the example of posttraumatic stress disorder and enemy herem. Koroth: a Bulletin Devoted to the History of Medicine & Science, 9(Spec Issue), 194-210.


Selected Book Chapters

In press. Allan Young and Naomi Breslau. What is “PTSD”? – the heterogeneity thesis and posttraumatic stress disorder. In Culture, Trauma, and PTSD, D. Hinton and B.J. Good. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press.

In press. From posttraumatic stress to resilience for all. In Stress, Shock and Adaptation in the Twentieth Century, Rochester Studies in Medical History, D. Cantor and T. Brown, eds. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.

Young, A. (2012). Logic and sensibility in social neuroscience’s “New Unconscious”. Logic and Sensibility. Watanabe, Shigeru, ed., pp. 91-106. Tokyo: Keio Univ. Press.

Young, A. (2012). Empathic cruelty and the origins of the social brain. In Critical Neuroscience: Between Lifeworld and Laboratory, S. Choudhury and J. Slaby, editors. Pp. 159-176. Oxford: Blackwell.

Young, A. (2011). Empathic cruelty and the origins of the social brain. In Critical Neuroscience: A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience. Suparna Choudhury and Jan Slaby, editors. Pp. 159-176. Oxford: Blackwell. 

Young, A. (2011). Empathy, evolution, and human nature. In Empathy: From Bench to Bedside, J. Decety, D. Zahavi, and S. Overgaard, eds. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 

Young, A. (2010). Darwin, la dialectique de cerveau. In A. Prochiantz (Ed.), Darwin: 200 ans (pp. 137-157). Paris: Odilie Jacob.

Young, A. (2010). The history of a virtual epidemic. In G. Pizza, & H. Johannessen (Eds.), Embodiment and the state: Health, biopolitics and the intimate life of state powers. AM. Rivista della Società italiana di antropologia medica n. 27-28, 21-36.

Young, A. (2009). Mirror neurons and the rationality problem. In S. Watanabe, L. Huber, A. Young, & A. Blaidsell (Eds.), Rational Animals, Irrational Humans (pp. 55-69). Tokyo: Science University Press.

Young, A. (2009). An anthropology of science. In D. Cayley (Ed.), Ideas: On the Nature of Science (pp. 323-340). Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions.

Young, A. (2008). Kultur im Gerhirn: Empatie, die menschliche Natur und Spiegelneuronen. Wie geht Kultur unter die Haut? Emergente Praxen an der Schnittstelle von Medizin, Lebens- und Socialwissenschaft. J. Niewöhner, C. Kehl, & S. Beck Eds., pp. 31-54. Bielefeld (Germany): Transcript Verlag.

Young, A. (2008). Psychiatric diagnosis in the era of the social brain: How evolutionary narratives may shape psychiatry's future. In V. Saller, M. Würgler, & R. Weiss (Eds.), Neue Psychiatrische Diagnosen im Spiegel sozialer Veränderungen/New Psychiatric Diagnoses as Reflection of Social Change (pp. 21-37). Zurich: Seismo.

Young, A. (2007). PTSD of the virtual kind – trauma and resilience in post 9/11 America. In A. Sarat, N. Davidovitch, & M. Alberstein (Eds.), Trauma and memory: Reading, healing, and making law (pp. 21-48). Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.

Young, A. (2007). America’s transient mental illness: A brief history of the self-traumatized perpetrator. In J. Biehl, B. Good, & A. Kleinman (Eds.), Subjectivity: Ethnographic investigations (pp. 155-178). Berkeley: University of California Press.

Young, A. (2007). Bruno and the holy fool: Myth, mimesis, and the transmission of traumatic memories. In L. J. Kirmayer, R. Lemelson, & M. Barad (Eds.), Understanding trauma: Cultural, psychological and biological perspectives (pp. 339-362). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Young, A. (2006). Bodily memory and traumatic memory. In M. Lambek & P. Antze (Eds), Trauma, Culture, and the Sciences of Memory. London: Routledge (in press).

Young, A. (2006). Trauma und Verarbeitung in den USA nach dem 11. September 2001 Ein anthropologischer Blick auf virtuelle Traumata und Resilienz. In E. Wohlfahart & M. Zaumseil (Eds.), Transkulturelle Psychiatrie – Interkulturelle Psychotherapie: Interdisziplinäire Theorie und Praxis (pp. 391-410). Heidelberg: Springer Medizin Verlag.

Young, A. (2004). When traumatic memory was a problem: On the historical antecedents of PTSD. In G. M. Rosen, (Ed.), Posttraumatic stress disorder: Issues and controversies (pp. 127-146). New York: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Perry, E., Ashton, H. & Young, A. (Eds.). (2002). Neurochemistry of consciousness: Neurotransmitters in mind. Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Young, A. (2000). An alternative history of traumatic stress. In A. Y. Shalev, R. Yehuda, & A. C. McFarlane, (Eds.), International handbook of human response to trauma (pp. 51-66). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Young, A. (2000). History, hystery, and psychiatric styles of reasoning. In M. Lock, A. Young, & A. Cambrosio (Eds.), Living and working with the new medical technologies: Intersections of inquiry (pp. 135-164). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Young, A. (1998). Walter Cannon and the psychophysiology of fear. In C. Lawrence, & G. Weisz (Eds.), Greater than the parts: Holism in biomedicine,1920-1950 (pp. 234-256). New York: Oxford University Press.

Young, A. (1996). Bodily memory and traumatic memory. In M. Lambeck, & P. Antze (Eds.), Tense past: Cultural essays in trauma and memory (pp. 89-102). London: Routledge.

Young, A. (1995). The harmony of illusions: Inventing posttraumatic stress disorder. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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