To open our workshop this year, Medicine and Its Objects presents:

Wednesday, October 4, 4:30-6:00pm, in Rosenwald 329

David Ansari (PhD candidate, Comparative Human Development)

please join us to discuss:

Activities of reading and writing: Navigating paperwork routines in culturally sensitive mental health services in Paris

with opening comments by

Talia Gordon (PhD Student, Comparative Human Development)

Graduate students in psychology and psychiatry embark upon training in culturally sensitive mental health services in France to learn to understand the cultural and migration histories of patients. While these students observe and participate in clinical consultations, they also spend a great deal of time engaged in seemingly mundane paperwork routines: taking notes, transcribing, reading patient files, and filling out forms. This chapter, part of a larger project that examines the learning experiences of these students, explores the functions of these routines. Students’ involvement in these routines supports the clinical work of these services by maintaining continuity between consultations and by assisting in admissions decisions; these routines guide students to understand the institutional frameworks of these services and focus students’ attention on specific details about patients. While they confer responsibility to students and present opportunities for student-to-student learning, these routines are also moments in which students question or critique institutional procedures. Their critiques suggest alternative ways to engage with patients’ histories.

Refreshments will be served, stimulating dialogue will be had!

To receive the paper, or if you have any questions or require assistance to attend, email the workshop coordinator: Kieran Kelley (

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