Joshua KLEIN

PhD Researcher in International History and Politics
Research Affiliate, Gender Centre
Spoken languages
German, English, French
Areas of expertise
  • History of science
  • Intellectual History
  • History and Theory of Media
  • Cultural History and Social Theory
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Western and Central Europe

PhD Thesis

Ethnopsychiatric Experts. Scientific Internationalism and the Reconfiguration of the Mind, 1930–1980

Joshua Klein’s research is looking into the historical and epistemological relationship of ethnology and psychiatry during the postwar period as the political function of this interdisciplinary dialogue shifted from colonial contexts to an international field of expert knowledge, questioning the universality of the human mind and challenging European assumptions about cultural difference and modernity.


Joshua Klein is a PhD candidate and research assistant at the International History and Politics Department at the Graduate Institute Geneva. Trained in media studies and modern European history, he received a master’s degree from the University of Basel for a thesis on the intellectual history of editorship and cultural politics in postwar Germany.

His current research explores the various impacts decolonisation and migration had on the human and social sciences in the second half of the twentieth century. Focusing on histories of intellectual and technocratic internationalism through the lens of ethnopsychiatry and its entanglements with imperial and internationalist world-making projects, it asks how theories of the “global psyche” shaped scientific discourses and political agendas after 1945 when new cultural relations were established within and beyond the order of an “international society” and its “civilisational” universals. What were the “laboratories” of ethnopsychiatry and how did its practices (archiving, comparing, documenting, interviewing, observing) contribute to the translation of the psyche into an administrative problem of international relations, producing “bureaucratic knowledge” for evidence-based policymaking?

He is part of the team of the Swiss National Science Foundation funded project, Decolonising the Psyche: The Politics of Ethnopsychology, 1930-1980.

Research Interests

Historical Anthropology
Global Historiographies
Political Epistemology

Academic Work Experience

Teaching Assistant at University of Basel and University of Potsdam

Fellowships, Grants and Awards

Marbach Fellowship by the German Literature Archive (2019/20)