Philosopher Noga Arikha’s decision to study neuropsychiatric patients at a hospital in Paris was not initially motivated by personal experience. However, when her mother began to succumb to dementia, Arikha’s research into the threats to the self posed by mental illness took on new dimensions. Seeking to understand the confrontation of the mind with its own dissolution, Arikha grew close to a network of patients whose variety of symptoms defied neat classification and whose loss of identity is a current of intense pain throughout Arikha’s new work, The Ceiling Outside. Empathic and unflinching, the book details the fragility of the mind, the limits of medical practice, and, above all, the humanity of all beings trying to grapple with who they are. Arikha will appear in conversation with writer Rachel Donadio.
About the speaker:
Noga Arikha is a philosopher, historian of ideas and essayist who works as a “science humanist”. Her book The Ceiling Outside: The Science and Experience of the Disrupted Mind was published in spring 2022 by Basic Books. She is also the author of Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours (2007). She is a Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute in Fiesole, Associate Fellow of the Warburg Institute and of the Center for the Politics of Feelings (London), Research Associate at the Institut Jean Nicod (Paris), and Research Associate at the Fotopoulou Lab at UCL.
Rachel Donadio is a Paris-based writer and journalist, a contributing writer for the Atlantic, and a former Rome Bureau Chief and European Culture correspondent for the New York Times. She regularly publishes textured profiles and features at the intersection of culture and politics, as well as literary criticism. Since 2022 she has been the administrator of the American Library in Paris annual Book Award.
Important information: The discussion will be available both online and in person. While the conversation will happen in person (Arikha and Donadio will appear in the Reading Room), the Library will stream the conversation on Zoom for a live viewing experience. Both in-person and online attendees will be able to pose questions.
Please note the Daylight Savings gap between the US and France. This event will take place at 19h30 CET / 14h30 EDT
This event requires advance registration.
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