Joseph Davis

Research Professor of Sociology at the Institute For Advanced Studies in Culture

University of Virginia
Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture
3 University Circle
PO Box 400816
Charlottesville, VA 22904

Joseph E. Davis is Research Professor of Sociology and Director of the Picturing the Human Project of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia.

Professor Davis’ research explores the intersecting questions of self, morality, and cultural change. In studies of medicine, psychiatry, work, AI, aging, social movements, and other fields, he has examined trauma psychology, narratives of suffering, the rise of biological explanations of mental life, medicalization, psychoactive drug use, and our cultural dreams of technological mastery. He is the author or editor of several books and his articles have appeared in many journals, peer-reviewed and popular. He is a former editor of The Hedgehog Review and writes a Psychology Today blog called “Our New Discontents: Reflections on Mental Health and Social Ideals.”

Currently, he is at work co-editing a special issue of Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry on “Being Human in the Age of the Brain: Models of Mind and their Social Effects,” as well as two book projects, “The Troubles of Youth,” and an “Essay on Human Misunderstanding.”

Selected Publications



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Joseph Davis


Research Professor in Sociology,
Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture Program, University of Virginia