Didier Fassin

James D. Wolfensohn Professor of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study
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Didier Fassin is the James D. Wolfensohn Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, the Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, the president of Comité Medical pour les Exilés, and an associate editor for Medical Anthropology. He is the founder of Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire sur les Enjeux Sociaux and former vice president of Médecins Sans Frontières. An anthropologist and a sociologist, Fassin has conducted fieldwork in Senegal, Ecuador, South Africa, and France. Trained as a physician in internal medicine and public health, he dedicated his early research to medical anthropology, illuminating important dimensions of the AIDS epidemic, mortality disparities, and global health. More recently, he has developed the field of critical moral anthropology, which explores the historical, social, and political signification of moral forms involved in everyday judgment and action as well as international relations. He is currently conducting an ethnography of the state, through a study of police, justice, and prison, and analyzes the possible contribution of the social sciences to a public debate regarding security, punishment, and inequality. His recent books include The Empire of Trauma: An Inquiry Into the Condition of Victimhood (2009), Humanitarian Reason: A Moral History of the Present (2011), and Enforcing Order: An Ethnography of Urban Policing (2013). He has published articles in the American Journal for Public Health, Current Anthropology, and Social Science and Medicine, and occasionally writes for the French newspapers Le Monde and Libération. Fassin earned an MD from Université Pierre et Marie Curie, an MPH from the University of Paris, and a PhD from École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.