Anne Harrington

Anne Harrington

Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science
Faculty Dean, Pforzheimer House
Anne Harrington

Areas of Research: History of Medicine, Human Sciences, Medical Humanities, Psychiatry, Neuroscience

Anne Harrington is the Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science, specializing in the history of psychiatry, neuroscience, and the other mind and behavioral sciences. She is also Faculty Dean of Pforzheimer House (with her husband, Dr. John Durant). From 2007-2010, she was Department Chair, and in 2012-2013, she was Department Acting Chair.

Professor Harrington received her Ph.D. in the History of Science from Oxford University, and has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine in London,  and the University of Freiburg in Germany. For six years, she co-directed Harvard's Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative. She also was a consultant for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Mind-Body Interaction, and also served for 12 years on the Board of the Mind and Life Institute, dedicated to cross-cultural exchange and collaboration between the sciences and various contemplative traditions. She was also a founding co-editor of Biosocieties, a journal concerned with social science approaches to the life sciences.

Professor Harrington is the author of three books: Medicine, Mind and the Double Brain (1987), Reenchanted Science (1997) and The Cure Within; A History of Mind-Body Medicine (2007). She is currently completing a new book, tentatively titled,The Biological Revolution in Psychiatry: What Really Happened? She has also published many articles and produced a range of edited collections including The Placebo Effect (1997), Visions of Compassion (2000), and The Dalai Lama at MIT (2006). Recent articles and chapters include "Zen, Suzuki, and the Art of Psychotherapy," Science and Religion, East and West (2016) "Mother Love and Mental Illness: An Emotional History," (2016, Osiris), and "When Mindfulness is Therapy" (American Psychologist, 2015). She is developing a new research project on the history of "miracle healings" at the Catholic healing shrine of Lourdes.

Professor Harrington's courses at Harvard include or have included  "Madness and Medicine" (General Education) "Evolution and Human Nature" (undergraduate) "Broken Brains" (undergraduate) “Stories under the Skin,” (undergraduate) "Freud and the American Academy" (graduate) "The Minded Body" (graduate) and "In Search of Mind" (graduate). She also regularly offers graduate reading courses in the history of psychiatry, psychology, and neuroscience. For some years, she both taught and oversaw the required research methods course for History and Science undergraduates, and now is faculty instructor of the department’s sophomore tutorial, which she radically overhauled in 2012-13 with a grant from the Hauser Initiative on Learning and Teaching.   For some years, she and her husband, Dr. John Durant (based at MIT) co-taught a Harvard Summer School study abroad program in Cambridge, England, “Science, Medicine, and Religion in an Age of Skepticism.”

Photo © Susan Kreiter, Boston Globe


Curriculum Vitae


  • CB 34: Madness and Medicine: Themes in the History of Psychiatry
  • History of Science 170: Broken Brains
  • History of Science 97: Sophomore tutorial
  • History of Science 98r: Junior Tutorial

Book Publications:

Selected Public Talks & Interviews

Contact Information

Faculty Assistant:
Linda S. Thomas
Science Center 372h

p: (617) 496-5234