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Gabriel Mendes

Gabriel Mendes

Gabriel N. Mendes, Ph.D. is now Senior Lecturer in Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA.

E-mail: gnathaniel.mendes@gmail.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/profgnmendes
Website: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/mhs/people/gabriel-mendes/

Biography Information

Dr. Mendes’ research and teaching center on the interlocking relationship among the thought and practice of the human sciences (biomedical, social, and behavioral) and the everyday lived experience of racialization, with particular attention to blackness and Afro-Diasporic populations. Prior to joining UCSD, he taught courses at Brown University, Bard College, and Emmanuel College. In addition to teaching core undergraduate and graduate courses, he has developed courses that bring the study of race and ethnicity into conversation with such fields as medicine, public health, religion, philosophy, intellectual history, and the study of mental health and illness.


Ph.D., American Civilization, Brown University, 2010
M.T.S, Harvard Divinity School, 1997
B.A., Hobart College, 1994

Research Interests

Africana/Black Disaporic Thought and Cultures (Literary and Expressive); Black Radical Thought and Politics; History and Critique of the Human Sciences; Philosophy of Race and Racism; Racism and Public Health

Current Projects

Professor Mendes is currently writing his second book, Through a Glass Darkly: Race and Madness in Modern America, an interdisciplinary study of the representation and reality of the racialized experience of mental illness, either through raced subjects’ being diagnosed/labeled as such or by their own embrace of “craziness.”

Selected Publications

Under the Strain of Color: Harlem’s Lafargue Clinic and the Promise of Antiracist Psychiatry (Cornell University Press, September 2015).

Under the Strain of Color tells the story of how writer/activist Richard Wright and radical psychiatrist Dr. Fredric Wertham, along with an interracial group of intellectuals, doctors, clergy, and artists, attempted to establish a progressive model of mental health care as an integral part of the struggle for racial justice and equality in the United States in the early post–World War II era.

Presentation at St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Harlem