Call for Panelists: Anthropology and Mental Health Interest Group Inaugural Conference

Call for Panelists: Anthropology and Mental Health Interest Group Inaugural Conference
December 2, 2014
American University, Washington, DC

Note: This conference takes place one day prior to the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting

Conference Theme: Current Issues and Future Directions in the Anthropology of Mental Health

Anthropologists and other scholars are increasingly focusing their attention on the social, cultural, and structural dimensions of mental health. The continued acceleration of globalizing processes, the impact of deleterious social policy and structural conditions on population-level mental health inequities, and the need for culturally appropriate prevention and treatment, all speak to the critical importance of this work. However, because of (sub)-disciplinary compartmentalization, the diverse geographic and occupational settings in which anthropologically-informed mental health issues are addressed have largely gone unrecognized, even among researchers and practitioners who focus on this topic area. This lack of recognition is also due to ongoing epistemological tensions between the (false) dichotomies of theory-praxis and prevention-treatment. Therefore, the purpose of this inaugural conference of the Anthropology and Mental Health Interest Group is to take stock of the current state of anthropologically-informed mental health research and practice; identify areas of theoretical and applied cross-disciplinary collaboration; identify employment and funding opportunities; and map out future directions. Given this broad-based agenda, we are seeking panelists to participate in one of four roundtable discussions:

1)      Anthropological Theory in Mental Health Research and Practice:  This panel is concerned with identifying those theoretical and conceptual approaches that can best illuminate the social, cultural and structural dimensions of mental health and illness;

2)      Community Partnerships and Collaborations: This panel will describe both the challenges and opportunities of developing collaborative relationships between anthropologists and community groups around local- or regionally-based mental health issues and concerns. We particularly welcome joint participation by representatives of community organizations and their research collaborators;

3)       Methodological and Ethical Issues in Mental Health Research:  Given the unique vulnerability of populations experiencing mental illness and its associated conditions, this panel will explore some of the methodological and ethical concerns of carrying out research, or developing research-based services, for this population. In an effort to think through some of the best practices of working with populations experiencing mental illness, we particularly welcome panelists who can discuss ways in which they addressed these challenges;

4)      Funding and Career Opportunities for Anthropologists in Mental Health: This panel will identify careers and sources of funding for anthropologists focused on mental health issues.

To be considered as a panelist, please identify the panel in which you wish to participate and submit a very brief abstract (approximately 100 words) describing the issue(s) that you wish to discuss, as well as the ways in which your own work engages with these concerns.  Abstracts are due by August 15, 2014.

We encourage scholars and practitioners from a variety of disciplines and workplaces to participate in this conference!

To register for the conference and/or submit an abstract, please click on the following link:

To learn more about AMHIG, visit our website: