Biography

Didier Fassin is James D. Wolfensohn Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and a Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Previously professor at the University of Paris North, he was the founding director of IRIS, the Interdisciplinary Research Institute in Social Sciences at CNRS, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. Anthropologist, sociologist and physician, he conducted extensive research in Senegal, South Africa, Ecuador, and France. Laureate of an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council, he elaborated a political and moral anthropology which he put to work through a ten-year ethnography of police, justice and prison. He later developed a critical engagement with philosophical approaches to punishment, which was the matter of his Tanner Lectures on Human Values at the University of California, Berkeley, and to life, which was the topic of his Adorno Lectures, at the Goethe University of Frankfurt. Frequently writing for newspapers and news magazines and participating in radio and television programs on issues related to his research, he has proposed a theoretical reflection on the public presence of the social sciences, which he presented in his recipient lecture for the Gold Medal in anthropology at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He has been elected at the Annual Chair for Public Health of the Collège de France. He created a Summer Program in Social Science for early-career scholars from the Global South. Former Vice-President of Médecins Sans Frontières, he is President of the French Medical Committee for Exiles. He authored fifteen books translated in seven languages and edited more than twenty collective volumes.