Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a diagnosis that is found in many situations in addition to war-related settings. This dissertation research project by a cultural anthropology student from Harvard University will explore how psychological trauma, the fundamental category of experience associated with PTSD, is historically and culturally constructed and how the experience of psychological trauma is mediated by communities and institutions in Vietnam. The project will investigate what the experience of trauma means to Vietnamese, and how ideas about trauma cross boundaries in and out of institutions. The relation between foreign theories of trauma and illness and indigenous Vietnamese psychiatry will be studied, focusing on how foreign theories are `indigenized` by local practice and theories of suffering and illness. The student will also study how lay theories of trauma have influenced the practice of psychiatry in Vietnam. The data will derive from observations and interviews with patients, and consultation of archives, in psychiatric wards of institutions in Hanoi as well from interviewing families in a rural village on the outskirts of the city. After preliminary in-depth research in the village, a survey on general notions of trauma, shock and stress will be formed and administered in four other villages near Hanoi. This research should advance our understanding of the cultural history of biomedical disease categories, as well as improve our knowledge of this important area of the world.