Lecture with Arthur Kleinman

The talk draws on his forthcoming book The Soul of Care: The Moral Education of a Husband and Doctor.

Arthur Kleinman, M.D. is one of the most renowned and influential scholars and writers on psychiatry, anthropology, global health, and cultural issues in medicine.

  • Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology
  • Professor of Medical Anthropology in Global Health and Social Medicine,
  • Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

The talk he will be giving is titled: “The Soul of Care: Caregiving in Families and in Medicine” and draws on his forthcoming book which will be published by Viking/Penguin in September 2019.


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About Arthur Kleinman

Educated at Stanford University and Stanford Medical School, he has taught at Harvard for 42 years. He is currently professor of psychiatry and of medical anthropology at Harvard Medical School and Esther and Sidney Rabb professor of anthropology in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, where he has chaired both the Department of Social Medicine and the Department of Anthropology. Having spent five decades doing field research in China and Taiwan, he is also a leading expert on East Asia, and was Victor and William Fung director of Harvard’s Asia Center from 2008 to 2016.

Current project

Kleinman’s current projects include a book with Viking/Penguin entitled The Soul of Care: The Moral Education of a Husband and Doctor, and a collaborative project Social Technology for Eldercare in China with Harvard Medical School, the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard School of Design, Harvard Business School and Faculty of Arts and Sciences as well as Tsinghua and Fudan Universities and the Jiangsu Industrial Technology Research Institute.

Kleinman has made wide-ranging contributions to many fields of study, particularly medical anthropology, mental health, social suffering, caregiving, and the moral dimensions of psychiatry and medicine. He is known for his empathetic probing of the way patients experience and make sense of trauma or illness, and for thinking deeply about the relationships between patients, physicians, and other elements of the healthcare system.

Trade books and other publications

His trade books include The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition, a pioneering work that helped develop the field of “narrative medicine,” now widely taught in medical schools; Rethinking Psychiatry; and What Really Matters: Living a Moral Life amid Uncertainty and Danger. He has written or co-authored over 350 articles for publications ranging from leading medical and social science journals to Scientific American and Daedalus. Recently, he has explored some of the themes of his books in a series of articles on caregiving published in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine.

Teaching and awards

Arthur Kleinman has taught and lectured all over the world. He has twice delivered the William James Lecture at Harvard, given the Hume Lecture at Yale, the Tanner Lectures at Stanford, and the Fischer Lecture at Columbia. He has twice given the Distinguished Scholar Lecture at the National Institutes of Health. He has received the Franz Boas award, the highest award of the American Anthropological Association; and the Wellcome Medal of Britain’s Royal Anthropological Institute. He is Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. His international teaching and lecturing has included the Cleveringa Lecture at Leiden University, the Magisterial Lecture at the University of Milan, the Institut Lecture at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, the Beattie-Smith Lecture at the University of Melbourne, the Fei Xiaotong Lecture at Tsinghua University in China, and other lectures or visiting professorships in the U.K., Portugal, Spain, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, China, and Taiwan. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Kleinman is also known as a passionate teacher of undergraduates and graduate students in both anthropology and medicine. He was appointed a Harvard College Professor from 2011 to 2016 and won the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award of Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He also received the Harvard Foundation Distinguished Faculty Award. Among his many former students are Jim Yong Kim, former President of the World Bank, and Paul Farmer, founder of Partners In Health, along with more than 100 other PhD students and over 200 post-doctoral fellows.


Published Feb. 18, 2019 12:12 PM - Last modified June 24, 2022 8:27 AM