To Sit on the Earth

An Ethno-Memoir

Tobie Nathan author Janet Lee translator Joyce Zonana translator


Publisher:Seagull Books London Ltd

Published:5th Aug '24


This title is due to be published on 5th August, and will be despatched as soon as possible.

To Sit on the Earth cover

A stirring memoir of exile and self-discovery by a central figure in ethno-psychiatry.

In To Sit on the Earth, pioneering ethno-psychiatrist Tobie Nathan charts his intellectual and emotional journey, from his youthful infatuation with Freud and Wilhelm Reich to his mature adoption of anthropologist Georges Devereux’s ethnographic approach to psychoanalysis.

Expelled from Egypt as a Jew in 1956 when he was just a boy, Nathan spent his formative years on the outskirts of Paris. Caught up in situationist and Marxist politics, he enthusiastically participated in the revolutionary Events of May 1968. He then settled into a distinguished career as a writer, professor, and founding director of a free ethno-psychiatry clinic serving migrant populations in the French capital. Along the way, Nathan’s field research and practice took him to Benin, Burundi, and Brazil, where he sought out sorcerers, shamans, and other indigenous healers. As he did so, he encountered telling echoes of his ancestors’ age-old practices in Judeo-Arab Cairo.

Combining case histories and theoretical reflections with personal and familial anecdotes, while engaging with contemporary thinkers—including Sartre, Lacan, Bourdieu, and Foucault—this multi-layered, genre-defying memoir invites us to reconsider the beliefs that connect us to others and ourselves. To Sit on the Earth lays out a subtle, compelling case for the theological and cultural diversity essential to a thriving modernity.

ISBN: 9781803093918

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: 454g

320 pages