The Lemelson/SPA Conference Fund

The Robert Lemelson Foundation has generously agreed to provide $30,000 per year to the Society for Psychological Anthropology to support conferences and workshops that contribute to important developments in the field for the next two years. These funds will be used to support conferences that engage innovative and significant topics, issues, and theoretical/methodological perspectives in any subfield of psychological anthropology as well as conferences that seek to bring psychological anthropology into generative dialogue with other related fields of inquiry. We hope to support meetings that will have real significance for the field and result in published books or journal collections. To date 100% of funding recipients have turned conference papers into edited volumes or special issues of academic journals.

Conference funds are available to support two types of events. The first are pre- and post-conference events held just before or after national meetings (SPA Biennial Meetings and the AAA annual meetings). We anticipate providing funding of up to $10,000 for these events, and funds may be used for meeting room rentals, room and board for conference or workshop participants, and other expenses. Travel expenses can only be sought for participants who would not otherwise attend the larger national meeting. The second type of conference is a more traditional “stand alone” meeting, and funding can be used for the full range of conference expenses, including meeting room rentals, and participant travel, room and board. Requests for funding up to a maximum of $30,000 will be considered. We encourage all applicants to apply for other sources of funding, so that the SPA may be able to support a larger number of applicants.

The application process will be in two stages.  First, we are now soliciting short (2 page), preliminary conference or workshop proposals indicating the basic ideas that motivate the meeting and justification for the importance of the meeting, to be submitted with a preliminary list of possible participants and an approximate budget.  These applications are due June 1.  A review committee appointed by the President of the SPA will review these short proposals, and select several for development as full proposals.  The final proposal will be due August 15, and the conferences to be supported will be announced September 1.

Guidelines for initial short proposals

The initial preliminary conference/workshop proposals should consist of the following:

1)   Cover sheet, with title of conference, list of organizers (with institutions and contact information), host institution, and time of year for which the meeting is being planned (e.g. late fall 2014);

2)   2 page (single-spaced, 12 point) description of the basic concept of the workshop, justification (why it is important, innovative, of special current interest to the field), any specific ideas of how the meeting is to be organized (formal presentations and discussion; papers circulated ahead of time and workshop focused on discussion; etc), and expected products.  Critical here is to provide a discussion of why this meeting is important and will contribute to the development of the field in interesting directions.

3)   1 page list of proposed participants (it is not necessary to have invited participants at this stage), their positions, and expected contribution (or related area of interest or expertise)

4)   Brief budget: Please indicate whether the proposed meeting will be attached to a national conference or will be a more traditional, “stand alone” conference, and provide a simple budget of approximate expenses. Please also indicate what, if any, other sources of funding will be sought. For pre- and post-conference events, contact Harold Odden for assistance in assembling your budget.

Send the initial applications as Word or PDF file to Jason Throop by June 1, 2014. Please contact Jason Throop and Byron Good with any questions on the program.


Past Conferences



Cameron Hay-Rollins (Miami University, Ohio)
Methods That Matter: Anthropological and Mixed Methods to Understand Contemporary Social Issues and Inform Real World Policy


Naomi Quinn (Duke University)
and Jeannette Mageo (Washington State University)
Rethinking Attachment and Separation in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Tanya Luhrmann (Stanford University)
Toward an Anthropological Theory of Mind


Alex Hinton (Rutgers University)
and Devon Hinton (Massachusetts General Hospital)
Genocide and Mass Violence: Memory, Symptom, and Intervention

Daniel Lende (University of South Florida)
and Greg Downey (Macquarie University)
The Encultured Brain: Advances in Neuroanthropology


David Lancy (Utah State University)
Suzanne Gaskins (Northeastern Illinois University)
and John Bock (California State University, Fullerton)
Restaging Childhood

Eileen Anderson-Fye (Case Western Reserve University)
and Jill Korbin (Case Western Reserve University)
New Directions in Policy-Relevant Research on Adolescence: Perspectives from Psychological Anthropology

Don Seeman (Emory University)
and Sarah Willen (Southern Methodist University)
What’s at Stake in the Ethnography of Human Experience? Phenomenological and Psychoanalytic Perspectives