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Savelli Mat, Assistant (Teaching) Professor | Undergraduate Chair of the Department of Health, Aging & Society

photo of Mat Savelli

Mat Savelli

Assistant (Teaching) Professor | Undergraduate Chair of the Department of Health, Aging & Society

Department of Health Aging & Society

Area(s) of Interest:


Mat Savelli's teaching and research interests cut across disciplines to examine how beliefs about mental health and illness evolve.  In particular, his work explores how broader social ideas and ideologies shape medical practice and people's everyday experience of mental health.

He has tackled these questions through diverse projects, studying the history of psychiatry in Communist Yugoslavia, international medical marketing, trends in cigarette packaging, and the global advertising of psychoactive products, like coffee, beer, and psychiatric medication. 

His teaching broadly explores the ways that culture, politics, and professional medical knowledge intersect with mental health and illness.  His classes touch upon a wide variety of subjects, ranging from caffeine culture and sex addiction to mindfulness and the importance of studying film portrayals of mental illness. 


D.Phil. in Modern History, Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Oxford (2011)

M.Sc. in Russian and East European Studies, University of Oxford (2006)

B.A. (Hons) in History, McMaster University (2005)


Selected Publications:

Books and Edited Volumes:

Manning, P & Savelli, M (eds.) (2018). Global Transformation in the Life Sciences 1945-1980.  University of Pittsburgh Press.

 Gillett, J., Andrews, G.J., & Savelli, M. (eds.) (2016).  Health and Society: Critical Perspectives.  Oxford University Press.

 Savelli, M. & Marks, S. (eds.). (2015). Psychiatry in Communist Europe. Palgrave-MacMillan.


Chapters and Articles:

Savelli, M. (2019). Socialism, Society, and the Struggle against Mental Illness: Preventative Psychiatry in Postwar Yugoslavia.  Preventing Mental Illness: Past, Present, and Future. Smith, M., Kritsotaki, D., Long, V. & Walsh, O. (eds.) Palgrave-MacMillan.

 Savelli, M. (2018). “Peace and Happiness Await Us Somewhere in the Distant Future and at that Level, Psychotherapy Can Act”: Psychotherapy in Yugoslavia, 1945-1985. History of the Human Sciences 31(4), 38-57.

 Savelli, M. & Ricci, M. (2018). Disappearing acts: Anguish, pain, and the erasure of the mentally ill in global psychopharmaceutical advertising, (1953-2005). Canadian Bulletin of Medical History 35(2), 247-277.

 Savelli, M. (2018).  Beyond Ideological Platitudes: Socialism and Psychiatry in Eastern Europe.  Palgrave Communications 4:45.

 Marks, S. & Savelli, M. (2015). Communist Europe and Transnational Psychiatry.  Psychiatry in Communist Europe. Savelli, M. & Marks, S (eds.). Palgrave-MacMillan: 1-26.

 Savelli, M., O'Connor, S. C., Di Sante, E., & Cohen, J. E. (2015). Packaging digital culture to young smokers. Tobacco Control, 24(3), 303-305.

Savelli, M. (2013). The peculiar prosperity of psychoanalysis in socialist Yugoslavia. Slavonic & East European Review, 91(2), 262-288.

 Savelli, M. (2012). Diseased, depraved or just drunk? The psychiatric panic over alcoholism in Communist Yugoslavia. Social History of Medicine, 25(2), 462-480.