Arthur Kleinman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Arthur Kleinman MD
Arthur Michael Kleinman
Born (1941-03-01) March 1, 1941 (age 81)[1]
Other namesArthur Michael Kleinman
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materHarvard University
Spouse(s)Joan Kleinman (d.)
ChildrenPeter and Anne
Scientific career
InstitutionsHarvard Medical School, Harvard University
InfluencesLeon Eisenberg

Arthur Michael Kleinman (born March 11, 1941) is an American psychiatrist, psychiatric anthropologist and a professor of medical anthropology and cross-cultural psychiatry at Harvard University. He is well known for his work on mental illness in Chinese culture.

Kleinman has contributed to anthropological and medical understanding of culture-bound syndromes, particularly in Chinese and East Asian culture (such as Koro). He has argued that mental distress is much more likely to be expressed as somatized distress (i.e. as a bodily ailment) than as psychological distress by Chinese or East Asian patients. Since 1968, Kleinman has conducted research in Chinese society, first in Taiwan, and since 1978 in China, on depression, somatization, epilepsy, schizophrenia and suicide, and other forms of violence. He has written on the intersection of public health and international issues as well as social suffering, on cross-cultural psychiatry, and on the individual experience of pain and disability.

At Harvard, Kleinman has supervised more than 65 Ph.D. students (including 12 M.D.-Ph.D. students), and worked with more than 200 post-doctoral fellows, and he has taught hundreds of medical students and undergraduate students.[citation needed] He was the chair of the Harvard Department of Anthropology from 2004 to 2007 and currently serves as Director of the Harvard University Asia Center.


Arthur Kleinman received his A.B. and M.D. from Stanford University and M.A. in Social Anthropology from Harvard. He did an internship in internal medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and his psychiatric residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital.


Kleinman is the Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Arts & Sciences, Harvard University, a position he has held since 2002, professor of medical anthropology in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He chaired the Department of Anthropology from 2004 through 2007 and the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School for a decade, where from 1993 to 2000 he was the Presley Professor. From 2008 through 2016 Kleinman headed Harvard's Asia Center as the Victor and William Fung Director.[2] In 2011, Kleinman was awarded the distinction of being named a Harvard College Professor of and was given the Distinguished Faculty Award.

In 1976, he founded the journal Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry,[3] and was its Editor-in-Chief until 1986.[4] The journal was continued by Byron and Mary-Jo Good, and Peter J. Guarnaccia.[5]

He directed the World Mental Health Report, co-chaired the American Psychiatric Association's Taskforce on Culture and DSM-IV, co-chaired the 2002 Institute of Medicine report on Preventing Suicide, and also co-chaired in 2001 and 2002 both the NIH conference on the Science and Ethics of the Placebo and the NIH conference on Stigma. In September 2003, he gave the Distinguished Lecture sponsored by the Fogarty International Center at NIH on the Global Epidemic of Depression and Suicide. He is a consultant to the WHO where he chaired the technical advisory committee of the Nations for Mental Health Action Program and in December 2002 gave the keynote address to the WHO's first international conference on global mental health research.

In September 2003, he co-directed a conference at Harvard on SARS in China; and in the 2003–2004 academic year he co-directed a Conference at Harvard on AIDS in China. In December 2006, he co-directed an NSF funded international meeting on Asian Flus/Avian Flu and in May 2007 he co-chaired a conference on Values in Global Health. He is a member of the Steering Committee of Harvard's Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, is a member of the advisory board of the Harvard-Yenching Institute, and is on the Steering Committee of Harvard's newly created China fund. He was also appointed to the Dean's Advisory Council in Social Sciences. A member of the Steering Committee of the Harvard Institute of Global Health, Kleinman is co-chair of its Committee on Mental Health and of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Standing Committee on Global Health.

Kleinman has received more than 50 research grants, and is currently involved in various research projects in China studying depression; stigma; suicide; and the health consequences of rural-urban migration.[citation needed] Throughout his career, he has trained a number of prominent researchers and physicians.[citation needed]


Kleinman has authored seven books and over 350 articles, book chapters, reviews and introductions. Perhaps Kleinman's most influential work is Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture (1980), followed by The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition (1988) and Social origins of distress and disease: depression, neurasthenia, and pain in modern China (1986). His book, What Really Matters (Oxford University Press, 2006), addresses existential dangers and uncertainties that make moral experience, religion, and ethics so crucial to individuals and society today. This book has been translated and published in Chinese editions both in Shanghai and Taipei. His most recent book The Soul of Care: The Moral Education of a Husband and a Doctor was published in 2019.

Kleinman has co-authored many works with other psychiatrists and researchers in the field of mental health and cross-cultural psychiatry, including Paul Farmer, Veena Das, Margaret Lock, Michael Phillips, Byron Good, Mary Del-Vecchio Good, Tsung-yi Lin, and Leon Eisenberg.

Kleinman is co-editor of 29 volumes, including: Social Suffering; Culture and Depression; SARS in China; Global Pharmaceuticals; Subjectivity: Ethnographic Investigations; Reimagining Global Health: An Introduction; The Culture of Illness and Psychiatric Practice in Africa; and The Ground Between: Anthropologists Engage Philosophy. He has also co-edited 11 special issues of journals. Kleinman is currently writing a book on caregiving based on his articles in the Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine, the Harvard Magazine, and other venues.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Kleinman is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academies and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has delivered numerous lectures on a variety of topics at universities around the world. He has been a fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford). He is Distinguished Lifetime Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Kleinman has twice given the Distinguished Lecture at NIH, and was a member of its Council of Councils (the advisory board to the director) from 2007 to 2011. He was also appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services of the U.S. Government to the Advisory Council of the Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health. In 2003 Kleinman chaired the Selection Committee for the NIH's new Pioneer Awards.

In 2006, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology, and in 2008 received from the SMA the George Foster Award. In 2004, he was awarded the Doubleday Medal in Medical Humanities by University of Manchester, England. In 2007 he received an award in the medical humanities at Imperial College, London He is a winner of the Wellcome Prize of the Royal Anthropological Institute; a recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Science from York University (Canada); and the 2001 winner of the Franz Boas Award of the American Anthropological Association, its highest award. He was awarded an honorary professorship at Fudan University. Shortly thereafter, he was Cleveringa Professor at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

Personal life[edit]

Kleinman was born and raised in New York. He was married to the late Joan Kleinman (who died in 2011), a sinologist and his research collaborator, for 45 years. They have two children (Peter and Anne) and four grandchildren (Gabriel, Kendall, Allegra and Clayton).

Selected list of published works[edit]

  • Medicine in Chinese cultures : comparative studies of health care in Chinese and other societies: papers and discussions from a conference held in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., February 1974 / edited by Arthur Kleinman ... [et al.]. -- U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, 1975.
  • Culture and healing in Asian societies : anthropological, psychiatric, and public health studies / edited by Arthur Kleinman ... [et al.]. - - G.K. Hall, 1978
  • Normal and abnormal behavior in Chinese culture / edited by Arthur Kleinman and Tsung-yi Lin. -- D. Reidel, 1981. -- (Culture, illness, and healing / editor-in-chief, Arthur Kleinman; v. 2)
  • Patients and healers in the context of culture : an exploration of the borderland between anthropology, medicine, and psychiatry / Arthur Kleinman. -- University of California Press, 1980.
  • Culture and depression : studies in the anthropology and cross-cultura l psychiatry of affect and disorder / edited by Arthur Kleinman and Byron Good. -- University of California Press, 1985. --
  • Social origins of distress and disease : depression, neurasthenia, and pain in modern China / Kleinman—Yale Univ ersity Press, 1986
  • The illness narratives: suffering, healing, and the human condition / Kleinman—Basic Books, 1988
  • Rethinking psychiatry : from cultural category to personal experience / Kleinman; Free Press, 1991 ISBN 0-02-917441-4
  • Social suffering / edited by Kleinman, Veena Das, and Margaret Lock—University of California Press, 1997 & Oxford University Press, 1997
  • Writing at the margin : discourse between anthropology and medicine / Kleinman. -- University of California Press, 1995
  • What really matters: living a moral life amidst uncertainty and danger / Kleinman—Oxford University Press, 2006. Translated into Chinese: Shanghai Joint Publishing Company, Shanghai, P.R. China, 2007; translated in Chinese: PsyGarden Publishing Company, Taiwan, 2007
  • The soul of care: the moral education of a husband and a doctor / Kleinman— Penguin, description and arrow-searchable preview, 2019
  • "Rituals and focus can make isolation a time for growth," / Kleinman— Wall Street Journal, p. C5, April 11–12, 2020

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Arthur Kleinman at the Leiden University "faculty since 1575" site.
  2. ^ "Social Faculty Page for Arthur Kleinman - Anthropology Department".
  3. ^ "Culture, medicine and psychiatry: Twenty years and more", Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 20 (1): vii–xi, March 1996, doi:10.1007/BF00118748, ISSN 1573-076X, S2CID 189891520
  4. ^ Arthur Kleinman, Curriculum Vitae (PDF), retrieved 8 March 2022
  5. ^ Peter J. Guarnaccia (2003), "Editorial", Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 27 (3): 249–257, doi:10.1023/A:1025390614115, ISSN 1573-076X, PMID 14672095