Lotte Meinert: Post-traumatic stress disorder and spirits in Uganda


Special exhibition “Social Contagion”, Moesgård Museum, February 11 – May 14, 2017.

Lotte Meinert: Post-traumatic stress disorder and spirits in Uganda
Trauma and spirits after the war in Uganda: Is PTSD contagious?

After twenty years of civil war in northern Uganda (1986-2006), people have returned to their homes and are in a process of restoring peace in the families and the local communities. But many of them have experienced outrageous things during the war, and have returned with wounds on body and soul. They are ‘contaminated’ by the violence and death they have experienced. Some call it post-traumatic stress; others call it evil spirits. The problem is that ‘it’ continues to be contagious and to contaminate the wellbeing of the families when a member has trauma that will not heal. Since 2012 I have, together with Susan Whyte and colleges from Gulu University, been following families that are being plagued by trauma and evil spirits.

Lotte Meinert: Post-traumatisk stress disorder og ånder i Uganda
Traumer og ånder efter krigen i Uganda: Smitter PTSD?

Efter tyve års borgerkrig i det nordlige Uganda (1986-2006) er folk vendt hjem og er ved at genoprette freden i lokalsamfund og familier. Men mange har oplevet uhyrlige ting i løbet af krigen og er kommet hjem med sår på krop og sjæl. De er ’forurenede’ af den vold og død, de har oplevet. Nogle kalder det posttraumatisk stress, andre kalder det onde ånder. Problemet er at ’det’ fortsætter med at smitte og forurene trivslen i familierne, når et medlem har traumer, der ikke heles. Siden 2012 har jeg sammen med Susan Whyte og kollegaer fra Gulu Universitet fulgt familier, der er plaget af traumer og onde ånder.


Project Details

A film by: EPICENTER

EPICENTER explores the social life of epidemics – including cultural epidemics. The Centre aims to fill a gap in scientific as well as popular understandings of contagion, by asking: What is contagion? The traditional distinction between communicable and non-communicable diseases is challenged through research. Currently epidemics of non-communicable diseases are spreading, but the social dynamics of how these diseases spread are poorly theorized. The Centre is currently hosting studies in Denmark, South Africa, Uganda, Siberia, Nepal, and Egypt on cancer, HIV, diabetes, drug addiction, trauma, suicide, migration, prevention and treatment regimes.
The Centre will be a platform of communication between researchers and the public through museum exhibitions.

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