Global Mental Health

Global mental health syllabus 2019


Fall 2018 Research Poster Presentation

This course features a public poster presentation and reception each semester:

Dec 6 flyer

Student Poster Titles (2019):

Trauma Reactions in India: Community and Mental Health

Addiction and Historical Trauma: The Relationship as Seen in the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders Populations in Australia

The Sri Lankan Suicide Epidemic: More than a Mental Health Crisis

Mental Health Complications of AIDS-Orphaned Children in Sub-Saharan Africa

Depression in Native American and Alaska Native Populations

Course Description

This advanced seminar examines mental illness and psychiatry in cross-cultural perspective. Students will learn about anthropological perspectives on emotions across cultures, meanings of illness and disease, the historical construction of psychiatric knowledge, and the social and cultural context of treatments for mental illness. We examine ethnographic accounts of mental illness in different cultural settings, including in the U.S. In doing so we critically examine psychiatric disease categories such as schizophrenia, “culture-bound” disorders, ADHD, and drug and alcohol addictions.


Students of this course read such books as:

Our Most Troubling Madness: Case Studies in Schizophrenia Across Cultures edited by Tanya Luhrmann and Jocelyn Marrow

The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession Along the Rio Grande by Angela Garcia

Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche by Ethan Watters

A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia and Mental Illness in Contemporary Japan by Karen Nakamura

Of Two Minds: An Anthropologist Looks at American Psychiatry by Tanya Luhrmann

Never in Anger: Portrait of an Eskimo Family by Jean Briggs

Student Evaluations

“I thoroughly enjoyed the class, and although I did the least amount of formal work for this class, I believe that I learned the most in this class compared to all the other classes I was in. I was actually motivated to do all of the outside readings and wanted to learn more about each topic that we discussed. I also very much enjoyed the discussion style of the class. In addition, I even enjoyed the assignments because I felt that they promoted creativity, allowed for appropriate integration of past class material and allowed us to further dive into specific areas that interested us. I wish more of my classes were set up this way.”

“As a fashionista and cool–headed professor, Dr Cooper made this class a very enjoyable one. She encouraged discussion and provided us with resources that were unique and gave us proper guidance and clear guidelines on what she expected in terms of our assignments. I appreciated her attempts to check in and make sure we got a good understanding of what the impacts of mental health are on a global scale. She is a kind and welcoming soul, the best kind of professor, who cares about her students and wants them to succeed.”

“I really thought that Dr. Cooper was a great professor. I love how she offered passive assistance throughout the class in that she let the students take over and interjected when necessary. Although, as stated before, I thought there could have been a tiny bit more formal lecture from Dr. Cooper, I also completely understand why she let the students take control; otherwise you do not know what the students do and do not understand. Overall though, I thought she was an insight[ful] and passionate professor that helped me to learn more than I have in most other classes.”

“This course has contributed to fueling my interest in anthropology, but besides that I feel like I learned about many rarely-discussed issues in America that have great implications for mental health and our interactions with other countries. I learned a lot about how the cultural environment has huge effects on people’s experiences of mental illness and their general lived experience as part of a culture.”

“I like how it was student-led and discussion-based because it gave us a safe and welcoming atmosphere to share our thoughts. The material was very interesting. Time goes by quickly in class because of all the discussion. Such a great class! One of my favorites!”





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