Emma's Journey with Dissociative Identity Disorder


Guest: Robert Oxnam

We were so excited to have Robert Oxnam as a our guest on the podcast!

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Robert Oxnam was president of the Asia Society for over a decade (1981-92). In the 1990s, Oxnam frequently travelled to China as a lecturer for prominent Americans seeking in-depth knowledge of the country, including Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, and former President H. W. Bush. In 1992-93 he was Special Correspondent for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, hosting an acclaimed nine-part special on China.

Oxnam was educated at Williams College (B.A. 1964, Phi Beta Kappa) and Yale University (M.A. 1966, Ph.D.) He taught at Trinity College, CT (1969-75), Columbia University (1990s), and Williams College (Bernhard Professorship, 1995). He is the author of two novels about China, and has published several books about Chinese history and U.S.-China relations.

In 2005, Hyperion Press published Oxnam’s psychological autobiography – A Fractured Mind – revealing his long struggle with Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder; DID is usually caused by severe child abuse at very young ages). The book elicited widespread media coverage including CBS’s 60 Minutes, ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC Today Show, PBS, New York Times, Time Magazine, Daily Telegraph, and BBC.

Today, Oxnam divides his time between his art making and dealing with those in the mental health community. He has been appointed as Special Advisor to McLean Hospital/Harvard University and is collaborating with outstanding research figures to create a nationwide public education effort to “de-stigmatize” DID. He frequently lectures about DID at universities and conferences around the U.S. and abroad. Oxnam often says, “my work as an artist is not in spite of DID, but rather because DID gives me a whole inner community of artists and critiques.”

Emma Sunshaw