Elizabeth A. Davis

Associate Professor
(609) 258-8864
Email Address: 
Office Location: 
122 Aaron Burr Hall
Office Hours: 
11:30 am-1:00 pm
3:00 pm-4:30 pm

Also by appointment. WASE

Teaching (Fall 2018)
Psychological Anthropology (ANT 305/HLS 305)
Proseminar in Anthropology (ANT 501)

Teaching (Spring 2019)
The Reality Effect: Film and Visual Culture in Anthropology(ANT 250)


Ph.D. Socio-Cultural Anthropology, University of California-Berkeley, 2005

Greece and Cyprus, medicine and psychology, ethics and subjectivity, peace and conflict, migration and borderlands, law and empire, history and memory, film and visual culture, social theory and ethnography, methods.

short bio
Elizabeth Davis is Associate Professor of Anthropology and a Behrman Faculty Fellow in the Humanities. Her research and writing, grounded in the European horizons and the Ottoman history of the Greek-speaking world, focus on the intersections of psyche, body, history, and power as areas for ethnographic and theoretical engagement. Her particular interest is in how the ties that bind people to communities and states are yielded and inflected by knowledge: that is, how certain kinds of truths mediate conceptions of self and conceptions of others – as psychiatric subjects, for example, or as subjects of history. Her first book, Bad Souls: Madness and Responsibility in Modern Greece (Duke University Press, 2012), is an ethnographic study of responsibility among psychiatric patients and their caregivers in the “multicultural” borderland between Greece and Turkey. She is currently working on her second book, The Good of Knowing: War, Time, and Transparency in Cyprus (forthcoming from Duke University Press), a collaborative engagement with Cypriot knowledge production about the violence of the 1960s-70s in the domains of forensic science, documentary film, and “conspiracy theory.”

Davis is affiliated with the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies at Princeton, where she serves on the Hellenic Studies Program Executive Committee, as well as with the Program in Global Health and Health Policy and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies. Before joining the Princeton faculty in 2009, she taught in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University and at Columbia University as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows. More recently, she has held a Richard Stockton Bicentennial Preceptorship and a Membership at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton.  

recent publications 

Bad Souls book cover

Publications List: 
2012 Bad Souls: Madness and Responsibility in Modern Greece.  Durham: Duke University Press*
Winner of the 2013 Gregory Bateson Prize


2015 “ ‘We’ve toiled without end’: Publicity, Crisis, and the Suicide ‘Epidemic’ in Greece,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 57(4):1007-1036.
2013 "'It Wasn't Written for Me': Law, Debt, and Therapeutic Contracts in Greek Psychiatry,"  PoLAR (Political and Legal Anthropology Review) : 36(1):4–34 2010 “The Antisocial Profile: Deception and Intimacy in Greek Psychiatry,”  Cultural Anthropology 25(1): 130-164