CfP: New perspectives in transcultural and postcolonial psychiatry

Call for papers: New perspectives in transcultural and postcolonial psychiatry

Centre Marc Bloch (CMB), 4-5 November 2021

Within the framework of two ERC Starting Grants (‘Decolonizing Madness’, PI Ana Antic, University of Copenhagen, and ‘Governing Madness’, PI Romain Tiquet, CNRS, Marseille), a two-day conference will be organized at the Centre Marc Bloch (Berlin) at the beginning of November 2021 with a focus on new perspectives in the history and anthropology of transcultural and postcolonial psychiatry. This international conference aims to explore a variety of new theoretical and methodological approaches, topics and voices in the global development of transcultural psychiatry in the second half of the twentieth century. We invite proposals from scholars in history, anthropology, psychology, psychotherapy and clinical sciences, who will reflect on the development of networks, encounters and practices of knowledge production and sharing in transcultural psychiatry, and on the complex interrelationships between psychiatry and decolonisation in a global context. We particularly encourage presentations on any of the following themes:

Alternative geographies of transcultural psychiatry: while a large majority of the existing scholarly literature maintains a relatively limited geographical focus, this conference will examine the development, theories and practices of transcultural psychiatry in a much broader variety of places, including Latin America, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa.

  • Knowledge circulation and connections: the workshop aims to focus on the multiple transnational networks of expertise and treatment, emphasising the circulation of knowledge and debates from South to South and South to North, rather than exclusively North to South.
  • Alternative sites and actors: special attention will be given to alternative (formal and informal) institutions of care and treatment, and to the diversity of actors who took care of the mentally ill and participated in defining the meanings of ‘mental disorder’ (this includes traditional healing places as well as family settings and prisons; trained psychiatrists as well as psychiatric nurses, family members, police functionaries, etc.)
  • The politics of transcultural psychiatry: the conference will explore transcultural and postcolonial psychiatry’ involvement in and affiliation with political movements and ideologies in different parts of the world, and ask whether the discipline delineated a political missions for itself or commanded political influence. Moreover, we will explore how important theoretical authors such as Fanon, Foucault or Goffman shaped transcultural psychiatry and its politics in different social and cultural settings
  • Methodological and ethical reflections on ‘mental illness’, ‘psychiatry’ and ‘mental disorders’ as a research topic. Ethical and methodological reflections on using psychiatric archives and sources will be at the core of this conference.

Submission and deadline information

We invite both researchers and practitioners to submit proposals. PhD students and early-career researchers are particularly encouraged to apply.

Please send a 300-word abstract and 50-word CV to both and before 1 May 2021.

Logistical information:

Date: 4-5 November 2021 We are planning a hybrid event (in-person and online), depending of the evolution of the COVID situation. All travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the convenors.

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