Thijs den Hertog

Thijs den HartogThijs den Hertog is a PhD candidate at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), at the University of Amsterdam. He is partly based at the ASC and partly at the AISSR.

The working title of his PhD thesis is Conceptualization of mental illness and healing strategies: from life stress to ‘madness’. The research takes place in a group of Khwe (San) living in a township in Kimberley, South Africa. The Khwe and their !Xun neighbours experienced violent and disruptive histories. These include displacement up to three times after participation in Angola’s war of independence, fighting alongside the Portuguese army, and the border war, fighting alongside the South African Defence Force (SADF). These types of histories and their poor socio-economic status are considered risk factors for mental illness. As first study concerned with mental illness in this particular community, my PhD research focuses on meanings attributed to locally identified concepts such as ‘madness’ and ‘thinking a lot’, and the informal and formal ways of healing/care associated with these conditions. The study combines medical anthropology and cultural psychiatry as fields of research.

T.N. (Thijs) den Hertog
PhD Student