The Individuated Dividual

SEMINAR: The Individuated Dividual or What is Culture Good For?

June 4, 2021 | 6:00–7:30pm CST

Presented by The Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago, Depth Counseling, and the Yellowbrick Consultation and Treatment Center

This seminar will use anthropological ideas originating in studies of personhood in South Asia to explore the emotional world of a first-generation Indian American as he struggles with the transition to adulthood and cultural expectations of personhood that differ from the normative American conceptions of individuality. In exploring the case, supervisor and case presenter will examine the clinical utility of the idea of “the dividual,” incorporating the South Asian view of a person as a multiply-authored divisible composite, and how it may clash with clinicians’ assumptions of personhood informed by a more bounded American individualism. Case presented by Sean M. Dowdy, PhD, with clinical supervision by Usha Tummala-Narra, PhD. The discussion will be moderated by Merari Fernandez Castro, LCSW.

This event is a collaboration with the 2021 Weissbourd Dialogues sponsored by the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago, and Yellowbrick Consultation and Treatment Center. The 2021 Weissbourd series, hosted via virtual symposia, will bring together speakers from different scholarly and professional fields to discuss and present work on the theme of solitude.

The Weissbourd Dialogues (traditionally, the Annual Weissbourd Conference), are made possible through the generous support of the Weissbourd Memorial Fund, which pays tribute to Bernard Weissbourd’s history of involvement with the University of Chicago. The Fund reflects his abiding commitments to spirited inquiry, the excitement of learning, the power of discourse, and through all of these, the pursuit of a more just and humane society. The live psychoanalytic supervision is co-sponsored by Depth Counseling, and the Yellowbrick Program.

The Individuated Dividual

About the Presenters

Sean Dowdy, PhD

Sean M. Dowdy, PhD is a Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences and a member of the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago. He received his doctorate in anthropology from the University of Chicago and is currently a candidate at the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute, as well as an MA student at the Institute for Clinical Social Work, while in clinical practice at Depth Counseling. Dowdy’s scholarship and research has focused on indigenous politics, kinship, ritual, and the dynamics of personhood in Northeast India. This year, he will begin a major research project at the University of Oslo on the mutual imbrication of cultural conceptions of personhood and socio-economic class in India’s current therapy boom.

Usha Tummala-Narra

Usha Tummala-Narra, PhD is Professor of Counseling, Developmental and Educational Psychology, and the Director of Training in the Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology at Boston College. Her research and scholarship focus on immigration, trauma, race, cultural competence and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Dr. Tummala-Narra serves on the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 39 and has served as the chair of the APA Division 39 Multicultural Concerns Committee, as well as the APA Presidential Task Force on Immigration. Dr. Tummala-Narra serves on the editorial boards of numerous academic journals, including Psychoanalytic Dialogues and Psychoanalytic Psychology. She is the author of Psychoanalytic Theory and Cultural Competence in Psychotherapy, published by APA (American Psychological Association) Books in 2016. Her edited book, Trauma and Racial Minority Immigrants: Turmoil, Uncertainty, and Resistance, was published by APA Books.

About the Moderator

Merari Fernandez-Castro

Merari Fernandez Castro, LCSW is a Clinical Social Worker in solo private practice in Chicago and a doctoral student at the ICSW. Throughout her work at various community agencies and private practice settings, she has developed an interest in working with individuals experiencing complicated traumatic life experiences as well as in the body’s response to suffering. She is also interested in the intersection of social justice, feminism, cultural identity, immigration and the experience of the unconscious.

University of Chicago, Depth Counseling, Yellowbrick