AAA 2014: Sessions on Psychiatry, Mental Illness, and Drugs

For our readers attending the American Anthropological Association annual meeting this year, we’re featuring a list of sessions sure to pique your interest in various aspects of mental illness, health, drugs, and psychiatric care. The following selection of sessions was drawn from this year’s AAA online presentation schedule for the 2014 annual meeting, to be held this year in Washington, DC from December 3-7th (for more information, click here: http://www.aaanet.org/meetings). Sessions in the list are organized by chronological date and time.

If you would like your session to be added to this list, please email a link to the session description on the AAA website to: jcb193@case.edu.

Global Mental Healthcare: Challenges, Controversies and Innovations

Wednesday, December 3rd 2pm-3:45pm

http://aaa.confex.com/aaa/2014/webprogram/Session12926.html

“Global” Knowledge, “Local” Care, and Subjectivity: Producing an Anthropology of Psychosis

Wednesday, December 3rd 2pm-3:45pm

http://aaa.confex.com/aaa/2014/webprogram/Session11392.html

Psyche and the Brain in the 21st Century

Wednesday, December 3rd 4pm-5:45pm

http://aaa.confex.com/aaa/2014/webprogram/Session11636.html

Transcendance and the Everyday in Responses to Trauma

Thursday, December 4th 2:30-4:15pm

http://aaa.confex.com/aaa/2014/webprogram/Session11838.html

What Drugs Produce

Saturday, December 6th 9am-10:45am

http://aaa.confex.com/aaa/2014/webprogram/Session11124.html

Psychological Disorder and Subjectivity in Socio-Political Context

Saturday, December 6th 11am-12:45pm

http://aaa.confex.com/aaa/2014/webprogram/Session12768.html

Ordering, Morality and Triage: Producing Medical Anthropology Beyond the Suffering Subject Part 2: Mental Health and Illness

Saturday, December 6th 2:30pm-4:15pm

http://aaa.confex.com/aaa/2014/webprogram/Session11809.html

Professional Perspectives in the Anthropology of Drugs

Saturday, December 6th 6:30pm-8:15pm

http://aaa.confex.com/aaa/2014/webprogram/Session11263.html

News: AAA Forms Task Force on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) has recently formed a task force that will examine implications of the conflict between Israel and Palestine for the anthropological community: including forming potential stances that the organization could take on issues that might impede upon scholarly inquiry surrounding the conflict.

Members of the task force, appointed by current AAA president Monica Heller, could profess no public opinion about the political nature of the conflict. They were each required to have a subject matter background pertinent to analyzing the conflict at hand.[i]

Logo of the AAA from Wikimedia Commons

Logo of the AAA from Wikimedia Commons

The AAA website notes that the task force members will investigate “the uses of anthropological research to support or challenge claims of territory and historicity; restrictions placed by government policy or practice on anthropologists’ academic freedom; or commissioning anthropological research whose methods and/or aims may be inconsistent with the AAA statement of professional responsibilities.”[ii] Beyond studying what effects the conflict has on anthropological research and scholarship, the task force will also make recommendations on whether or not the AAA should take a stance on issues unveiled by the report.

In describing the task force goals, the AAA website also notes that it is possible that no stance will be taken on problems raised in the findings—but that any position the organization takes must be substantiated by “neutral overviews” of the argument in favor of a particular stance.

An article about the task force posted earlier this year on the Anthropology News website—operated by the AAA—noted that anthropologists, “have an opportunity here to develop modes of mutually respectful exchange on controversial anthropological topics that will serve us well now and in the future.”[iii]

Although the task force will meet in person during the Annual Meeting in December to discuss these concerns, their findings will not be available in a complete written report until October 2015.


[i] https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/09/09/anthropology-group-creates-task-force-israeli-palestinian-conflict

[ii] http://www.aaanet.org/cmtes/commissions/Task-Force-on-AAA-Engagement-on-Israel-Palestine.cfm

[iii] http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2014/04/30/towards-an-informed-aaa-position-on-israel-palestine/