Eugene Raikhel

I am a cultural and medical anthropologist with interests encompassing the anthropology of science, biomedicine and psychiatry; addiction and its treatment; suggestion and healing; and post-socialist transformations in Eurasia. I am particularly concerned with the circulation of new forms of knowledge and clinical intervention produced by biomedicine, neuroscience and psychiatry. My work follows therapeutic technologies as they move both from "bench to bedside" and from one cultural or institutional setting to another, examining how they intersect with the lives of practitioners and patients.

My book Governing Habits: Treating Alcoholism in the Post-Soviet Clinic is being published by Cornell University Press in the Fall of 2016. Based on fourteen months of fieldwork in St. Petersburg among institutions dealing with substance abuse, this book examines the political-economic, epidemiological and clinical changes that have transformed the knowledge and medical management of alcoholism and addiction in Russia over the past twenty years. A detailed description of the project is available here.

Two new projects, both based largely in North America, are in an earlier stage of development. The first of these, a collaboration with Stephanie Lloyd (Laval University) and researchers in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, examines the emerging field of "behavioral epigenetics," with a particular focus on research about suicidal risk. We are in the process of carrying out an ethnographic study to examine how neuroscientists, geneticists and psychiatrists draw upon the latest scientific knowledge to explain suicide, and how family members, in turn, take up these explanations. I have also begun a second project, which will examine how contemporary logics, practices and politics of mental health and illness intersect with class distinctions and aspirations for upward mobility among undergraduates in the United States.

From September 2007 to February 2010 I held a postdoctoral fellowship in the CIHR Strategic Training Program in Culture and Mental Health Services Research in the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University.

I also founded, edit and frequently contribute to Somatosphere, a collaborative academic weblog focused on medical anthropology at its intersections with cultural psychiatry, bioethics and science and technology studies.

Contact Information


I teach a range of undergraduate and graduate courses on the anthropology of medicine, psychiatry, mental illness, and subjectivity.  Previous versions of my course syllabi are available below.

Please use this form to sign up for office hours or contact me if you cannot make any of the available time-slots. Office hours are held in Rosenwald 318C (1101 S. 58th Street).


Culture, mental health and psychiatry

Illness and subjectivity

Medical anthropology

Disordered states

Selected publications

Eugene Raikhel. Governing Habits: Treating Alcoholism in the Post-Soviet Clinic Cornell University Press, 2016.

Eugene Raikhel and Dörte Bemme. "Post-socialism, the Psy-ences and Mental Health." Transcultural Psychiatry, 53(2): 151-175, 2016. DOI: 10.1177/1363461516635534

Eugene Raikhel. “From the Brain Disease Model to Ecologies of Addiction,” In  Revisioning Psychiatry: Cultural Phenomenology, Critical Neuroscience, and Global Mental Health. Laurence Kirmayer, Robert Lemelson and Constance Cummings eds. Cambridge University Press, 2015. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139424745.018

William Garriott and Eugene Raikhel. "Addiction in the Making," Annual Review of Anthropology, 44:477-491, 2015. DOI: 10.1146/annurev-anthro-102214-014242

Eugene Raikhel. "Reflex/Рефлекс." Somatosphere: Commonplaces, February 11, 2014.

Stephanie Lloyd and Eugene Raikhel. "L’épigénétique environnementale et le risque suicidaire : Reconsidérer la notion de contexte dans un style de raisonnement émergent," ["Environmental epigenetics and suicide risk: reconsidering notions of context in an emerging style of reasoning,"] Anthropologie & Santé, 9 | 2014.

Nicholas Bartlett, William Garriott and Eugene Raikhel. "What’s in the 'treatment gap'? Ethnographic perspectives on addiction and global mental health from China, Russia, and the United States." Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness, 33:457-477, 2014. DOI: 10.1080/01459740.2013.877900.

Eugene Raikhel and William Garriott, eds. Addiction Trajectories. Duke University Press, 2013.   The Introduction - "Tracing New Paths in the Anthropology of Addiction," is available here. DOI: 10.1215/9780822395874-001

Laurence J. Kirmayer, Eugene Raikhel and Sadeq Rahimi. "Cultures of the Internet: Identity, community and mental health." Transcultural Psychiatry, 50(2): 165-191, 2013. DOI: 10.1177/1363461513490626

Eugene Raikhel. "Radical reductions: Neurophysiology, politics and personhood in Russian addiction medicine." In Critical Neuroscience: A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience, Suparna Choudhury and Jan Slaby eds. Wiley/Blackwell, 2012. DOI: 10.1002/9781444343359.ch10

Eugene Raikhel. "Post-Soviet Placebos: Epistemology and Authority in Russian Treatments for Alcoholism." Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry., 34(1): 132-68, 2010. DOI 10.1007/s11013-009-9163-1

Eugene Raikhel. "Institutional Encounters: Identification and Anonymity in Russian Addiction Treatment (and Ethnography)." In Being There: The Fieldwork Encounter and the Making of Truth, John Borneman and Abdellah Hammoudi eds. University of California Press, 2009. DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257757.003.0008

Laurence J. Kirmayer & Eugene Raikhel. "From Amrita to Substance D: Psychopharmacology, Political Economy, and Technologies of the Self." Transcultural Psychiatry, 46(1): 5-15, 2009. DOI: 10.1177/1363461509102284

Amir Raz, Eugene Raikhel and Ran Anbar. "Placebos in Medicine: Knowledge, Beliefs and Patterns of Use." McGill Journal of Medicine, 11(2): 206-211, 2008.