Robert Lemelson is a cultural anthropologist, ethnographic filmmaker and philanthropist. Lemelson received his M.A. from the University of Chicago and Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Lemelson's area of specialty is transcultural psychiatry; Southeast Asian Studies, particularly Indonesia; and psychological and medical anthropology. He currently is a research anthropologist in the Semel Institute of Neuroscience UCLA, and an adjunct professor of Anthropology at UCLA. His scholarly work has appeared in numerous journals and books. Lemelson founded Elemental Productions in 2008, a documentary production company, and has directed and produced numerous ethnographic films.
Lemelson also is involved in a number of philanthropic ventures. He is the president of the The Foundation for Psychocultural Research, a research foundation that supports work integrating the social and neurosciences. He also acts a director for The Lemelson Foundation, a foundation started by his late father Jerome Lemelson to support inventors, invention and innovation in the United States and the developing world. Lemelson has also funded a number of programs supporting scholarship and research in Anthropology through the Robert Lemelson Foundation, which is a separate foundation from The Lemelson Foundation. These include Lemelson Anthropological Scholars program at UCLA, and the Lemelson-SPA conference fund and the Lemelson-SPA student fellows program administered by the Society for Psychological Anthropology. In addition, he helped create and fund the first program on Indonesian studies in thirty years, located in the International Institute at UCLA.
|Film Title||Type||Release Date||Short Synopsis||TRT|
|40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy||Documentary Feature||2009||40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy is the first documentary to explore the personal effects of the mass killings 500,000 to over a million people in Indonesia in 1965-66. The film follows the testimonies of four individuals and their families as they break their silence for the first time.||96 min|
|Shadows and Illuminations||Documentary Short||2010||Shadows and Illuminations is part of the Afflictions: Culture & Mental Illness in Indonesia - Volume 1: Psychotic Disorder. The film follows Nyoman Kereta and explores how non-normative mental events and behavior, including auditory and visual hallucinations, can be understood or interpreted in multiple ways outside the confines of western psychiatric diagnosis.||35 min|
|Memory of My Face||Documentary Short||2011||Memory of My Face is part of the Afflictions: Culture & Mental Illness in Indonesia - Volume 1: Psychotic Disorder. The film follows Bambang Rudjito and illustrates how the residues of colonialism and the pervasive influence of globalization affects the subjective experience of mental illness.||22 min|
|Ritual Burdens||Documentary Short||2011||Ritual Burdens is part of the Afflictions: Culture & Mental Illness in Indonesia - Volume 1: Psychotic Disorder. The film follows Ni Ketut Kasih and questions how communal spiritual obligations may be folded into personal schemas of stress to trigger episodes of mental illness ||25 min|
|The Bird Dancer||Documentary Short||2010||The Bird Dancer is part of the Afflictions: Culture & Mental Illness in Indonesia - Volume 2: Neuropsychiatric Disorders. The film follows Gusti Ayu Suartini and focuses on the social stigma of neuropsychiatric disorder and the human suffering it entails.||40 min|
|Family Victim||Documentary Short||2010||Family Victim is part of the Afflictions: Culture & Mental Illness in Indonesia - Volume 2: Neuropsychiatric Disorders. The film follows Estu Wardhani and examines the bi-directional influences between an individual considered to have a disruptive or troublesome personality and his social world.||38 min|
|Kites & Monsters||Documentary Short||2011||Kites & Monsters is part of the Afflictions: Culture & Mental Illness in Indonesia - Volume 2: Neuropsychiatric Disorders. The film follows Wayan Yoga from boyhood to manhood and discovers the influential and protective aspects of culture that may guide developmental neuropsychiatric processes.||22 min|
|Jathilan: Trance and Possession in Java||Documentary Short||2012||Jathilan: Trance and Possession in Java is a film about Jathilan, a folk dance practiced for centuries in Java that uses the power of music and dance to channel powerful and sometimes terrifying forces.||27 min|
|Movements and Madness||Documentary feature||2006||Movements and Madness: Gusti Ayu tells the story of an anthropologists search to understand a person with a severe neuropsychiatric disorder in rural Indonesia, and the ethical dilemmas involved when a research scientist attempts to aid his subject.||71 min|
- "Anak PKI!: Multigenerational Trauma in a Javanese boy" by Lemelson, R., Ng, Emily and Supartini, N. in Worthman, C., Plotsky, P., Schecter, D. and Cummings C. Formative Experiences: The Interaction of Caregiving, Culture, and Developmental Psychobiology Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010
- "Children and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" by Lemelson, R. in Shweder, R. et al. Ed. Chicago Companion to the Child. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.
- "Cultural Formulation of Psychiatric Diagnoses: The Spirits, Penyakit Ngeb and the Social Suppression of Memory: A Complex Clinical Case from Bali". Lemelson R, Suryani L.K. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. 30(3): 389-413, 2006
- "Epilogue: Trauma and the Vicissitudes of Interdisciplinary Integration" by Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. in Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. eds. Understanding Trauma: Integrating Cultural, Psychological and Biological Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2007
- "Neuropsychiatric Disorders and Traditional Healing in Indonesia: The Question of Efficacy" by Lemelson, R. in Maldonado, M. ed. Psychiatrists and Traditional Healers: Unwitting Partners in Global Mental Health. London, UK: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.
- "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Bali: The Cultural Shaping of a Neuropsychiatric Disorder." Lemelson, R. Transcultural Psychiatry. 4(30) 377-408, 2003
- "Strange Maladies". Lemelson, R. December 2001 Psychology Today
- "Traditional Healing and its Discontents: Efficacy and Traditional Therapies of Neuropsychiatric Disorders in Bali". Lemelson R. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 18(1): 48-76, 2004
- "Trauma in Context: Integrating Biological, Clinical and Cultural Perspectives" by Lemelson, R., Kirmayer, L, Barad, M. in Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. eds. Understanding Trauma: Integrating Cultural, Psychological and Biological Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
- "Understanding Trauma: Integrating Cultural, Psychological and Biological Perspectives". Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
- UCLA Today-10 Questions for Robert Lemelson
- The Harvard Crimson, "Breaking from the 'Silence'"
- Jakarta Globe, "Breaking the 40-Year Silence About the Anti-Communist Purge"
- Voice of America Interview with Director Robert Lemelson
- Jakarta Globe, "1965 Mass Killings Erased From History, Scholars Say"
- Jakarta Globe, "1965: Giving Voice to the Silenced Past"
- Robert Lemelson (IMDB)
- 40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy (Official Website)
- Afflictions: Culture & Mental Illness in Indonesia Film Series (Official Website)
- Jathilan: Trance and Possession in Java (Official Website)
- Documentary Educational Resources (Educational Distributor's Website)
- Department of Anthropology UCLA Website
- The Foundation for Psychocultural Research