Culture and the Mind – interdisciplinary workshop
This workshop brings together anthropologists, historians, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists and mental health activists in order to explore different conceptualisations of the relationship between culture/'cultural difference' and the human mind as they are reflected in a variety of disciplines.
We are interested in examining how the mind, psychological suffering and healing have been imagined and described in different socio-cultural contexts, as well as in the role of cultural difference in developing different definitions of what it means to be human. Moreover, the presenters will reflect on how different academic disciplines have understood or constructed the role of cultural and social environments in shaping the core traits of human psychology – and how culturally specific medical models of the psyche interacted with lay and religious conceptualisations.
The workshop considers a variety of actors and their role in these processes – including mental health patients and survivors, as well as their families – and addresses and historicizes different attempts at developing universal, cross-cultural definitions of the mind.
See abstracts (pdf).
9:30-11:00: Universalizing and translating mental health
Chair: Derek Summerfield
- Jessica Carlsson Lohmann, Competence Centre for Transcultural Psychiatry/University of Copenhagen, Culture and the mind – in a an outpatient mental health clinic
- Martha Karrebaek, University of Copenhagen, Ideologies of language and people in interpreted therapeutic encounters
- China Mills, City, University of London, ‘Cultural context becomes like footnotes’: constructing and contesting universality in global guidelines for mental health
11:15-12:45: Decentring narratives of mental health and illness: agency of survivors and service users
Chair: Laura Glahder Lindberg
- Romain Tiquet, CNRS Marseille, Family care put to the test of a "cultural-in-between". Reflections on Written Requests for Psychiatric Internment of Dangerous Individuals in Dakar, Senegal (1960s)
- Ursula Read, King’s College, ‘His mind was not there’ – thinking about presence, agency and responsibility in concepts of severe mental illness in Ghana
- Ruairi White, National Survivor User Network, Mad - But Not Too Mad
- Rea Maglajlic, University of Sussex, Madness after the war – exploring alternatives to dominant understandings of mental health in the context of political conflict
13:30-16:00: Ethnographies of the mind
Chair: Ana Antic
- Kirrily Pells, UCL, ‘Who has earnt the right to hear my story?’ Imaginings of childhood, culture and the mind in the Rwandan context
- Vivian Dzokoto, Virginia Commonwealth University, Conceptions of mind in the Akan of West Africa
- Lamia Moghnieh, University of Copenhagen, Culture, emotion and the modern mind: A reflection on the infrastructures of mental illness
- Sonia Cancian, McGill University, Empathy and the Narrativization of Migration
16:15-17:45: Trauma and psyche in historical perspective
Chair: Peter Leese
- Ville Kivimaki, University of Tampere, Translating trauma: How to think of posttraumatic stress in historical terms
- Jason Crouthamel, Contested Minds: Cultural and Political Constructs of the Psyche at War
- Mark Micale, University of Indiana, Urbana Champaign, The model of the human mind in trauma studies
- Svenja Goltermann, University of Zurich, Shifting ideas about suffering and vulnerability
17:45-18:30: Discussion and final remarks