SPA Biennial Meetings 2015


Omni Parker House in Boston, MA

April 9-12, 2015


NOTE: Emails with acceptance decisions and scheduling details on individual papers and sessions were sent out on Monday, February 16th. If you did not receive one, please first check the Spam folder in your email before contacting Hal Odden (


Call for Papers

The Society for Psychological Anthropology invites you to submit proposals for its 2015 Biennial Meeting to be held at the historic Omni Parker House in Boston. We will be accepting submissions of individually volunteered papers and posters, volunteered paper sessions, and discussion roundtables on any topic in the field of psychological anthropology. We sincerely hope that you will join us for what we believe will be an exciting conference!

Deadline for submission is Sunday, January 25, 2015.

Complete information on conference registration and abstract submissions, including links to the registration website, can be found here.


Plenary Sessions

The Biennial Meeting will include two Saturday plenary sessions on “Controversies in Global Mental Health” organized by Janis Jenkins (UCSD) and Byron Good (Harvard University).

We will also have a Friday afternoon plenary entitled “Postcolonial Theory and Psychological Anthropology: A Conversation with Homi Bhabha” organized by Angela Garcia (Stanford University) and Byron Good (Harvard University). This panel brings Homi Bhabha, a seminal figure in postcolonial theory, into conversation with anthropologists studying different trajectories of postcolonial psychology. Drawing together a variety of ethnographic and critical perspectives, our focus is to address the social, political and historical issues affecting the postcolonial condition, to represent the impact of postcolonial criticism on psychological anthropology, and to explore the potential of postcolonial critique for politically engaged psychological anthropology. This panel asks: How is the postcolonial folded into subjectivity? What kinds of experience is addiction, madness, suicide or violence in relation to postcolonial history? How might postcolonial theory animate psychological anthropology, not only in terms of understanding the discursive and embodied elements of consciousness or suffering, but also in attending to the relationship between theory, method and knowledge? And is a focus on the postcolonial relevant for all societies and aspects of psychological anthropology, or of more limited relevance?

 In addition to a keynote talk by Homi Bhabha (Harvard University), commentaries will be offered by Vincent Crapanzano (Columbia University), Angela Garcia (Stanford University), Stefania Pandolfo (University of California at Berkeley), Lisa Stevenson (McGill University), and Joao Biehl (Princeton University).


Special Events

We will be hosting a breakfast event entitled “Methods that Matter”: Breakfast and Lectures from Robert LeVine and Tom Weisner. This breakfast event is an invitation to explore the benefits of mixed methods research with two leaders in the field. To launch our conversation, Dr. Robert LeVine will speak on “Repairing the Fractured Social Sciences: A Historical Perspective on Mixed Methods and their Rediscovery.” Dr. Tom Weisner will follow with a discussion of how combining methodologies leads to, as the title of his talk states, “Findings that matter.” These talks will illustrate the advantages of a restored social science, one that has come of age by doing the kind of integrative, holistic and often collaborative research our social science ancestors originally envisioned.

The “Methods that Matter” event will be held on Friday, April 10th from 8 – 9:45 AM. The lectures and discussion will be accompanied by a breakfast buffet, including:

  • Cinnamon French Toast with Grand Marnier, Strawberry Butter and Maple Syrup
  • Assorted Breakfast Pastries and Bagels with Cream Cheeses and Fruit Preserves
  • Cut Fresh Fruit with Seasonal Berries
  • Assorted Juices, Coffee and Teas

Tickets for the event are $20 per person. The event is subsidized in part by the Lemelson / SPA Conference Fund, made possible by a generous donation from the Robert Lemelson Foundation.

Our Saturday Night Banquet will include presentation of the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Vincent Crapanzano, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), and a talk by Dr. Paul Farmer, Kolokotrones University Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard University. The banquet will be held on Saturday, April 11th beginning at 7 PM and will include a buffet dinner and cash bar. Ticket prices are $70 for professionals and $45 for students. The menu for the banquet includes:

  • Freshly Made Soup of the Day
  • North End Salad with Grilled Peppers and Squashes, Red Onion, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil Vinaigrette
  • Boston Bibb and Baby Spinach Salad with Raspberries, Goat Cheese and Sherry Vinaigrette
  • Campanelle Pasta with Shrimp, Scallops and Cod
  • Herb-Roasted Chicken, Tomato Marshal Veloute
  • Calvados Glazed Loin of Pork with Natural Pan Jus
  • Seasonal Vegetables, Roasted Sweet and Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • French Pastries, Cakes and Tortes with Coffee and Tea

The banquet menu may change depending upon the availability of certain seasonal items. If you have severe food allergies, please contact Harold Odden.

Please note that tickets for both the “Methods that Matter” breakfast event and the Saturday Night Banquet must be purchased as part of registration. Unfortunately, tickets for these events will not be available for purchase at the conference.

On Thursday, April 9th at 4 p.m. we will be hosting a workshop entitled “Getting the Grant: National Science Foundation (NSF) Funding for Psychological Anthropology” led by Eileen Anderson-Fye (Case Western Reserve University). The workshop will cover the basic principles of successful NSF proposal writing, various NSF funding mechanisms, review processes, co-reviewing and common pitfalls among psychological anthropology applications. Senior grants; other senior mechanisms for individuals, conferences and training programs; and mentoring student grant applications will be addressed. The workshop will include a presentation and discussion time.

Professor Anderson-Fye has received a number of NSF grants including senior research grants, EAGER support, and student training supplements in addition to supervising Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants (DDIG). She also regularly serves on the anthropology senior review panel for NSF.


Omni Parker HouseConference Hotel

Opened in 1885, the elegant Omni Parker House is located in the heart of downtown Boston with easy access to the Boston Common, Beacon Hill, and a wide variety of Boston’s many attractions. Special conference rates of $219 for double rooms and $269 for suites are available for conference attendees through the Omni Parker House’s Conference Website. Conference room rates are available for three days before and after the conference based on availability, and availability is extremely limited. Conference rates are available until March 16th, 2015.


International Early Career Scholars

Funding for international graduate students and early career scholars will be available to attend the meetings through the SPA’s new International Early Career Scholar Travel Grant program. We anticipate awarding three grants up to $2,000. If you are organizing a session, please consider inviting an international scholar.


Book Exhibit

The Scholar’s Choice will be managing the book exhibit for our biennial meeting. It may be possible for your recently published books to be included in their display. Anyone interested in having their book displayed at the meeting should contact their publisher as soon as possible to see if the press would be willing to send the book for the exhibit. The Scholar’s Choice displays on behalf of the publishers and all requests must come from them, not the individual authors.

Publishers who are unable to attend, but wish to have titles exhibited should contact Mary Lynn Howe by email ( or phone (585-262-2048 xt 111) for more information.