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Élodie Edwards-Grossi


Élodie Edwards-Grossi, Ph.D, is an Associate Professor of American Studies and Sociology at Université Paris Dauphine. 

She obtained the agrégation in English in 2014, and from January 2015 to December 2016 she was Visiting Graduate Researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a member of the research center EpiDaPo (UCLA-CNRS). In 2017-2018, she received the Fulbright and Georges Lurcy fellowships to complete her dissertation at Tulane University and was affiliated to the department of History as a Visiting Research Fellow. In 2018-2019, she was a temporary lecturer of American Studies at Université Versailles St Quentin-en-Yvelines. From 2019 to 2021, she was an Assistant Professor of American Studies at Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès. 

Her research focuses on the social history of racialized psychiatry in the segregated South and the medicalization of the black body from the 19th century until the contemporary era. 

Email: 

elodie.edwards-grossi[at]dauphine.psl.eu    

Research Interests

U.S. Social History, ethnography, urban sociology, African American History, biologism, racial science, social control, racialization processes, norms, psychiatry, popular music studies

Dissertation and doctoral research

Title: "Bad Brains" : Race et Psychiatrie de la fin de l'esclavage à l'époque contemporaine aux États-Unis

The dissertation was awarded the following prizes: 

Prix de thèse AFEA - Fulbright 2020
Prix de thèse SHS-PSL 2019, dans la catégorie interface science/humanités
Mention spéciale 2019 du Prix de la SFHM en histoire de la médecine Georges Robert (sciences humaines en médecine)

Abstract: This dissertation explores the social history of racialized psychiatry in the segregated South and the medicalization of the black body from the 19th century to contemporary times. By examining the politicization of science and psychiatric practices, while paying attention to notions of citizenship, responsibility and civil rights, it is possible to better understand the history of black psychiatric patients in the United States and the evolution of psychiatric theories that target racial otherness. Based on the personal archives of physicians, the records of care institutions and research centers in psychiatry, as well as on qualitative fieldwork conducted with psychiatrists in California, this dissertation shows the long history of racial discrimination practiced in medicine in the United States and the construction of a “medical apartheid” in Southern Hospitals since the late 19th century. This work retraces the different regimes by which the notion of race has been deemed relevant by psychiatrists to naturalize bodily differences from slavery up to the present day. While the racial variable began to be used in studies of madness from the 1840s onward, this dissertation reveals the emergence of a classification system for pathologies and routines applied to black and white bodies by Southern alienists, who sought to constrain and “heal” black bodies in separate spaces. By developing social psychiatry and by establishing the first urban clinics in the black ghettos in the context of the Great Migration, psychiatrists in the North also tried to condemn to obsolescence the segregated institutions of the South, and to reaffirm the modernity of their own practices. Moreover, in the context of the 1960s, this work shows the intersection between, on the one hand, the growing politicization of research conducted by psychiatrists on urban violence and, on the other hand, the representation of black protesters as pathological in the medical literature. Finally, this work addresses the emergence of anti-racist psychiatry during the beginnings of deinstitutionalization and focuses on the issues of the development of psychiatric units in which psychiatrists developed, from the 1980s onward, a new approach, placing the notion of race, understood as a biological and cultural paradigm, at the heart of the doctor-patient relationship. The qualitative survey conducted in one of these units and in several care clinics in California reveals the complex and often contradictory social representations of race that exist today for American psychiatrists, for whom this variable is understood simultaneously as a biomedical variable and as a cultural and social construct. By combining historical research on care practices with empirical methods of sociology, this dissertation demonstrates that the memory of race has long irrigated the discourses and practices of the American psychiatric profession: it is prevalent in the representations that the doctors employ when describing the bodies they treat, and it has contributed to no small degree in the naturalization of the social that has accompanied patient care.


Journal articles12 documents

  • Jean-Luc Bonniol, Élodie Edwards-Grossi, Simeng Wang. Introduction to Race and Biology. Cahiers de l'URMIS, Unité de recherches « Migrations et société » Université Côte d'Azur, 2021, ⟨10.4000/urmis.2283⟩. ⟨hal-03276108⟩
  • Jean-Luc Bonniol, Élodie Edwards-Grossi, Simeng Wang. Introduction au dossier « Race et biologie ». Cahiers de l'URMIS, Unité de recherches « Migrations et société » Université Côte d'Azur, 2021, ⟨10.4000/urmis.2278⟩. ⟨hal-03276106⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Mexican Blood, American Heart : l’entrepreneuriat de soi et le culte DIY des fans latinos de Morrissey à Los Angeles. Volume! La revue des musiques populaires, Association Mélanie Seteun, 2020, 16 (2), pp.225-241. ⟨10.4000/volume.8177⟩. ⟨halshs-02889464⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Behind the Hospitals’ Closed Doors: Medical Archives as Sites of Racial Memory and Social (In)Justice. Revue Française d'Etudes Américaines, Paris : Association Française d'études américaines, 2020, pp.35-50. ⟨hal-02558793⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. New avenues in epigenetic research about race: online activism around reparations for slavery in the United States. Social Science Information, SAGE Publications, 2020, 59 (1), pp.93-116. ⟨10.1177/0539018419899336⟩. ⟨hal-02558789⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. A Patient Labor : le travail des patients noirs et les pratiques de résistance dans les asiles psychiatriques du Sud, 1870-1940. Revue Française d'Etudes Américaines, Paris : Association Française d'études américaines, 2019, pp.200-214. ⟨hal-02558784⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Clinique politique et politiques de la clinique. Le cas des unités de soins psychiatriques « ethno-raciales » de l’université de Californie à San Francisco. Genèses. Sciences sociales et histoire, Belin, 2018, pp.92-113. ⟨hal-01799099⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Médecines du corps noir. La vie des idées, La Vie des Idées, 2018. ⟨hal-01799096⟩
  • Élodie Grossi, Christian Poiret. Du social au biologique : les habits neufs de la « race » ? : Entretien avec Magali Bessone et Claude-Olivier Doron. Revue Europeenne des Migrations Internationales, Université de Poitiers, 2017, Vol 32 (n° 3 et 4). ⟨halshs-01502388⟩
  • Élodie Grossi. Police privée sur la ville : réflexions sur les discours policiers, le clientélisme et la « race » dans l’espace public. Déviance et Société, Médecine et Hygiène, 2017, 41 (1), pp.29-55. ⟨10.3917/ds.314.0371⟩. ⟨hal-01497556⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi, Monginot Pauline. Introduction au dossier "Métamorphoses du regard sur les migrations contemporaines". Cahiers de l'URMIS, Unité de recherches « Migrations et société » Université Côte d'Azur, 2016, Métamorphoses du regard sur les migrations contemporaines, pp.2-5. ⟨hal-01362016⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. The Rise of the New Pandora’s Box?: The Return of Biologism in France in the Second Half of the 20th Century. Books and Ideas, Collège de France, 2016. ⟨hal-01362011⟩

Directions of work or proceedings3 documents

  • Simeng Wang, Jean-Luc Bonniol, Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Race et biologie. Cahiers de l'URMIS, 20, 2021, Appartenance et Altérité. ⟨hal-03491835⟩
  • Paul Edwards, Élodie Edwards-Grossi, Paul Schor. Disorder - Histoire sociale des mouvements punk et post-punk. Mélanie Seteun, Les presses du réel, 2019, 978-2-913169-586. ⟨hal-02304058⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi, Monginot Pauline. Métamorphoses du regard sur les migrations contemporaines. 1er colloque doctoral de la Fédération Sciences Sociales Suds, Dec 2014, Paris, France. Cahiers de l'URMIS, 2016, Métamorphoses du regard sur les migrations contemporaines. ⟨hal-01362015⟩

Book sections1 document

  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Médicaliser la folle Émancipation, soigner la folie noire ? Le contexte d’ouverture du Central Lunatic State Asylum for Colored Insane en question. Imaginaire Racial et Oppositions Identitaires, L'Harmattan, 2016, 978-2-343-10505-5. ⟨hal-01497569⟩

Conference papers12 documents

  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Trauma from the Past: From the Collective Memory of Slavery to Racial Epigenetics in the 21st Century. African American Memories, Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès, Mar 2020, Toulouse, France. ⟨hal-02558822⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. When race gets under your skin: genetic ancestry tests, epigenetics and histories of the self in the US today. Colloque international “Interviews with the Past: Oral History in the Construction of Memory”, Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès, Nov 2019, Toulouse, France. ⟨hal-02558824⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Interroger la « racialisation stratégique » : sur la race biologique dans les sciences médicales aux États-Unis aujourd’hui. Qualifier le Racisme, ANR Global Race, Jun 2019, Paris, France. ⟨hal-02558826⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Des soins en noir et blanc : biologisation de la race et naturalisation du social en psychiatrie aux États-Unis. École thématique « Naturalisation, déterminisme biologique et sciences sociales : race, sexe et comportements », EHESS, Oct 2018, Paris, France. ⟨hal-02558829⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Black Skin, White Science. Refashioning Psychoanalysis in the Jim Crow South, 1900-1920. Congrès annuel, Society for the Social History of Medicine, University of Liverpool, Jul 2018, Liverpool, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-02558830⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Towards a political history of psychiatric theories of madness and blackness in the United States. Congrès annuel, Association Française d’Études Américaines, Université de Strasbourg, Jun 2017, Strasbourg, France. ⟨hal-02558832⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Racialized landscapes in mental health care in San Francisco Bay Area: The Department of Psychiatry in UCSF. Health and Societies: Interdisciplinary Thinking within Interethnic Contexts, Ryerson University, May 2017, Toronto, Canada. ⟨hal-02558836⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Installing Segregation, Policing Racialized Bodies. The Rise of the Carceral and Medical Apparatus in State Asylums for Colored and Whites in the Southern States, in the 19th and 20th centuries. 5th Annual UCLA History Graduate Student Association Conference, Caged and Uncaged: Trajectories of Subjection and the (Im)Possibility of Freedom, UCLA History Department, Jan 2016, Los Angeles, United States. ⟨hal-02559009⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Mad with Freedom: The Political Economy of Blackness, Insanity and Civil Rights in the 19th Century. Congrès annuel, History of Science Society, Nov 2016, Atlanta, United States. ⟨hal-02559004⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Soigner et contrôler : la fabrique de l’altérité dans les hôpitaux psychiatriques pour Afro-Américains au XIXème siècle aux États-Unis. Colloque international "La Fabrique de la Santé", Société de Démographie Historique, INED, Sep 2015, Paris, France. ⟨hal-02559018⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Discipline and caring ? The case of segregated hospitals for Colored in the South from the late 19th century until the 1960s. The Fourth Biennial Interdisciplinary International Conference on Race, Monmouth University, Apr 2015, West Long Branch, United States. ⟨hal-02559029⟩
  • Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Writing from another perspective: when the dynamics of Frenchness, whiteness and gender interlock. Colloque international “Writing Fieldwork”, Program in History of Science, Princeton University, Apr 2015, Princeton, United States. ⟨hal-02559022⟩

Other publications1 document

  • Steve Pincus, James Robinson, Élodie Edwards-Grossi. Faire la guerre et faire l’État : Nouvelles perspectives sur l’essor de l’État développementaliste: Traduction d'Elodie Grossi. 2016, pp.7-35. ⟨10.1353/ahs.2016.0036⟩. ⟨hal-01362014⟩