Arthur Kleinman has been appointed the next director of the Harvard University Asia Center. He succeeds Tony Saich, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School and the first Victor and William Fung Asia Center Director. Saich’s term ends June 30.
Kleinman is the Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and professor of medical anthropology and psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. A physician and anthropologist, Kleinman chaired the Department of Anthropology from 2004 to 2007; and, from 1991 to 2000, he chaired the Department of Social Medicine. He has conducted research in Chinese society since 1969 and has been involved in activities in other Asian societies including Japan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
Kleinman’s first book, “Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture” (1979), offered the first description of Taiwan’s health care system. In 1986, he published one of the earliest studies of the survivors of China’s Cultural Revolution: “Social Origins of Distress and Disease: Neurasthenia, Depression and Pain in Modern China.” In more recent years, he has led programs on pandemic flu in Asia, SARS in China, and global mental health. His latest book, “What Really Matters: Living a Moral Life Amidst Uncertainty and Danger,” examines the effect of social change on moral experience.
Kleinman has lived in Asia for six and a half years. He is an honorary professor at Fudan University (Shanghai) and co-director of the Harvard-Fudan Medical Anthropology Collaborative Research Center. He has mentored more than 60 Ph.D. students and 200 postdoctoral fellows, including many from China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and India.