February 2024

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM IST

Room 400, School of Arts and Sciences
Central Campus, Ahmedabad University


The Ghost as Method: An Epistemological Framework for Empirical Psychology

Seminar and Lecture Series
Sabah-Siddiqui | Speaker at Ahmedabad University

Sabah Siddiqui

Assistant Professor
Krea University

I am interested in the intertwined relationship between faith healing and the psy-complex in contemporary India as I study a Muslim shrine in northern Gujarat, the Mira Datar Dargah. Faith healing encompasses local, cultural, and religious practices traditionally used to address issues perceived by mental health professionals as psychological or psychiatric manifestations. A notable disparity exists between the language employed by faith healers and mental health experts, revealing differing perceptions of the subject within the realms of faith healing and the psy-disciplines. A qualitative study of a faith healing shrine serves as the basis for exploring the modern interplay among religion, science, and governance. Initially centred on the subject, this inquiry extends to the process of subjectivation, eventually delving into the overlooked presence of the ghost in faith healing narratives, thus requiring a methodological turn towards the ghost. This approach, akin to radical epistemological paradigms like 'Asia as method' (Chen, 2010) and 'child as method' (Burman, 2018) offers a framework to contemplate the obscured and perplexing aspects of the subject that evade incorporation into conventional knowledge structures. Rather than attempting to fill the gaps in rational discourse, the ghost as method acknowledges the generative potential of uncertainty within the corpus of scientific knowledge.


Sabah Siddiqui

Sabah Siddiqui is Assistant Professor and Discipline Coordinator of Psychology at Krea University, Sricity, India. She works on faith healing and the clinic. She is also interested in the psychology and sociology of religion. Her book Religion and Psychoanalysis in India (Routledge 2016) brings these interests together, and is an exploration of methods to study modern subjectivities under the shadow of the nation state. Sabah has co-edited a volume on Islamic Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Islam (Routledge 2018) that brings together scholars and clinicians working at the intersection of Islam and psychoanalysis to explore the connections as well as the tensions that exist between them. Her most recent work collates Psychoanalytic Perspectives on South Asia (2023) for a special issue in Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society.