Robert Lemelson is an anthropologist and documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on the relationship of culture, psychology and personal experience in Indonesia. He received his M.A. from the University of Chicago and Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was a Fulbright scholar in Indonesia, exploring the relation of culture to mental illness, and has worked for the World Health Organization. Lemelson's area of specialty is Southeast-Asian studies, psychological anthropology and transcultural psychiatry. He is currently an adjunct professor of Anthropology at UCLA and a research anthropologist in the Semel Institute of Neuroscience at UCLA.
Lemelson is currently working on a number of documentary films based on his research in Indonesia. He has been filming on the islands of Bali and Java in Indonesia since 1997, exploring the relation to culture to such disorders as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette's syndrome and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Lemelson founded Elemental Productions in 2007 and as Director & Producer has produced documentary films focusing on the relationship of culture, mental illness and personal experience in Indonesia and the United States.
Films Available at DER
40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy (2009)
Afflictions: Culture and Mental Illness in Indonesia Series (2010/2011)
Shadows & Illuminations (2010)
Family Victim (2010)
The Bird Dancer (2010)
Kites and Monsters (2010)
Memory of My Face (2011)
Ritual Burdens (2011)
Standing on the Edge of a Thorn (2012)
Ngaben: Emotion & Restraint in a Balinese Heart (2012)
Bitter Honey (2015)
Books and Published Works
"Anak PKI!: Multigenerational Trauma in a Javanese boy" by Lemelson, R., Ng, Emily and Supartini, N. in Worthman, C., Plotsky, P., Schecter, D. and Cummings C. Formative Experiences: The Interaction of Caregiving, Culture, and Developmental Psychobiology Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010
"Children and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" by Lemelson, R. in Shweder, R. et.al. Ed. Chicago Companion to the Child. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.
"Cultural Formulation of Psychiatric Diagnoses: The Spirits, Penyakit Ngeb and the Social Suppression of Memory: A Complex Clinical Case from Bali". Lemelson R, Suryani L.K. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. 30(3): 389-413, 2006
"Epilogue: Trauma and the Vicissitudes of Interdisciplinary Integration" by Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. in Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. eds. Understanding Trauma: Integrating Cultural, Psychological and Biological Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2007
"Neuropsychiatric Disorders and Traditional Healing in Indonesia: The Question of Efficacy" by Lemelson, R. in Maldonado, M. ed. Psychiatrists and Traditional Healers: Unwitting Partners in Global Mental Health. London, UK: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.
"Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Bali: The Cultural Shaping of a Neuropsychiatric Disorder." Lemelson, R. Transcultural Psychiatry. 4(30) 377-408, 2003
"Strange Maladies". Lemelson, R. December 2001 Psychology Today
"Traditional Healing and it's Discontents: Efficacy and Traditional Therapies of Neuropsychiatric Disorders in Bali". Lemelson R. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 18(1): 48-76, 2004
"Trauma in Context: Integrating Biological, Clinical and Cultural Perspectives" by Lemelson, R., Kirmayer, L, Barad, M. in Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. eds. Understanding Trauma: Integrating Cultural, Psychological and Biological Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
"Understanding Trauma: Integrating Cultural, Psychological and Biological Perspectives". Kirmayer, L, Lemelson, R., Barad, M. eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.