Instructor: Joseph Gone
Meeting time: Monday, 12:00 - 2:45
American Indian, First Nations, and other Indigenous communities of the USA and Canada contend with disproportionately high rates of “psychiatric” distress. Many of these communities attribute this distress to their long colonial encounters with European settlers. Concurrently, throughout the 20th century, the disciplines and professions associated with mind, brain, and behavior (e.g., psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis) consolidated their authority and influence within mainstream society. These “psy-ences” promote their professional practices (e.g., diagnosis, psychotherapy) as plausible remedies for Indigenous social suffering, but many Indigenous communities remain skeptical of—and resistant to—these clinical approaches, primarily for cultural and political reasons. In this seminar, we will consider whether and how the concepts, categories, tools, and techniques of the mental health professions might be appropriately adapted and/or adopted for use with Indigenous communities in an increasingly globalized world. In recognition of the (post)colonial status of these populations, we will attend closely to alterNative cultural and spiritual approaches that have been identified and promoted by Indigenous people themselves as conducive to healing and wellness. This course is designed for upper-level undergraduate students interested in medical anthropology, professional psychology, pre-medicine, Indigenous studies, and related social and health sciences. Students will participate in regular seminar discussions, write routine responses to assigned readings, and submit major independent research papers addressed to the promotion of Indigenous well-being. Student engagement and exchange during class is essential, so routine attendance and participation are expected throughout the semester.