Interdisciplinary symposium: Situating anxiety - Perspectives on a dreaded emotion

  • Date: –17:00
  • Location: Universitetshuset, sal IV
  • Lecturer: Charlie Kurth, Professor of Philosophy, Western Michigan University, USA. Elizabeth Lunbeck, Professor of History of Science, Harvard University, USA
  • Organiser: The Interdisciplinary Anxiety Research Network at Uppsala university and Centre for Integrated Research on Culture and Society (CIRCUS)
  • Contact person: Malin Gingnell and Ylva Söderfeldt
  • Konferens

Anxiety is usually defined as the experience of fear of an imagined threat. However, it is also a cultural expression and a phenomenon shaping and being shaped by its historical and societal contexts. For the past two years, an interdisciplinary network has been discussing the many facets of anxiety. Now, we invite you to an open symposium on this dreaded – but perhaps misunderstood – emotion.

Speakers:

Charlie Kurth
Professor of Philosophy, Western Michigan University, USA 

A Place for Anxiety in the Good Life?
The idea that anxiety has an important—and positive—role to play in our lives may seem bizarre. But that assessment likely comes too quickly, for there are different forms of anxiety, some more valuable than others. To draw this out, I focus on recent academic and popular audience discussions of “eco-anxiety, ” the anxiety that individuals may feel when, say, thinking about climate change or other ecological crises. Looking here allows us to better appreciate not only the different types of anxiety that we can experience, but also how anxiety can contribute positively to our lives—it is, in a real sense, an emotion that we should be experiencing more of. But that said, danger lurks. So I conclude by highlighting some of the challenges we must address once we start advocating for a greater place for anxiety in our lives.

Elizabeth Lunbeck
Professor of History of Science, Harvard University, USA 

Shrinking Therapy: Artificial Intelligence in the Treatment of Anxiety – Panacea or False Promise?
Psychotherapy researchers and entrepreneurs claim that anxiety, especially in tech-savvy youth, is treatable with brief, targeted digital interventions—in some cases as brief as 30 minutes. This presentation explores this claim, situating it in more than a half-century’s record of attempts to standardize the human factor in psychotherapy, culminating in the present moment’s ambition to do away with the therapist altogether. The pandemic-fueled rise in levels of anxiety has offered mental health entrepreneurs an opportunity to realize their dreams of replacing analysts with algorithms. Will they succeed, or is the human irreducibly part of the therapeutic relationship?

Refreshments will be served.

Organizer: The Interdisciplinary Anxiety Research Network at Uppsala university and Centre for Integrated Research on Culture and Society (CIRCUS).

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