Deborah Jenson

Professor, French, Romance Studies and Global Health

Jenson is an interdisciplinary humanities scholar whose work in Global Health draws on language, cultural, and historical expertise, with a focus on Haiti and the francophone Caribbean, Africa, and France. At Duke she has directed the Franklin Humanities Institute and the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, and has co-directed the Brain & Society Bass Connections theme. She co-founded and co-directed the Haiti Lab, the Neurohumanities Research Group, and the Health Humanities Lab.

Jenson's Global Health courses include Pandemic Humanities, Trauma and Global Mental Health in Haiti, Ethnopsychiatry in Haiti, and Narratives of Illness & Healing. She recently co-taught with Duke professor Felwine Sarr a course on Contemporary African Philosophy. Jenson is currently co-editing with Marco Iacoboni and Len White a Frontiers in Neuroscience Research Topic on "Representation in Neuroscience and Humanities". Her recent STEM-related publications include "Conversational Analysis of Consciousness During Seizures" in Epilepsy & Behavior, and "Thank This Ebola-Fighting African Doctor for Monoclonal Antibody Treatments" (for Covid-19) in StatNews. Other health-related publications include a co-edited book with Warwick Anderson and Richard Keller on global legacies of psychoanalysis (Unconscious Dominions) and an Emerging Infectious Diseases article on why and how Haiti had avoided cholera until its unintentional introduction by UN forces after the Haitian earthquake of 2010. She is completing a study on Expressive Writing in Sexual and Reproductive Health with John Evans, and has collaborated and co-taught with Nimmi Ramanujam and Wesley Hogan on the "(In)visible Organ" Storytelling and Arts campaign related to the biomedical engineering device the Callascope. She is currently working on a book on Caribbean and Latin American philosophical engagement with brain science and psychiatry.