3×5: Culture, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry Weekly Roundup (June 5)


1. “What Makes Something Ethnographic?” Carole McGranahan’s 5/31/12 post on Savage Minds summarizes her experience teaching a new undergraduate course. (The group eventually came up with their own 9-item list.)

2. And that list reminded me of the conclusion in “Ways of Looking at Ethnographic Film,” an edited excerpt – from “Seeing Anthropology” by Karl Heider et al. – available on TV Multiversity.

3. Clark Lawlor of h-madness reviews Junko Kitanaka’s “Depression in Japan: Psychiatric Cultures for a Society in Distress” (Princeton, 2011).

4. Rafael Núñez et al.’s “Contours of Time: Topographic Construals of Past, Present, and Future in the Yupno Valley of Papua New Guinea,” in July 2012 Cognition.

5. Rebecca Sear’s 2/21/12 presentation at UCLA’s Center for Behavior, Evolution, and Culture is available on video, “How Much Does Family Matter?A Comparative Study of Kin Influences on Fertility.”


1. Lauren O’Connell and Hans Hofmann of UT (Austin), who looked at 88 species of vertebrates from five class –  fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals,  report in the 6/1/12 issue of Science on “Evolution of a Vertebrate Social Decision-Making Network.”

2.  Karl Deisseroth’s “Optogenetics and Psychiatry: Applications, Challenges, and Opportunities,” introducing the 6/15/12  special issue of Biological Psychiatry. “Why is optogenetics so important to psychiatry,” you may ask? Because “one of [its] unique and most versatile features . . . is well aligned with what may be a core feature of psychiatric disease (altered function along pathways of neural communication).”

3.  Proust wasn’t a neuroscientist, and neither is Jonah Leher (who as of today is a staff writer at The New Yorker, here’s link to the new home of Frontal Cortex). An old, but very rich post + commentary, which may make you want to revisit the post by Kate Clancy and commentary/discussion between Kate Clancy and Daniel Lende on interdisciplinary graduate education. Would an anthropologist who spends a year in an imaging lab qualify?

4. One of Bradley Voytek’s favorite TED talks (by Oliver Sacks), “What hallucination reveals about our minds.” (Speaking of which, the makers of Prometheus nailed the genre, including the annoying cadence.)

5. Scicurious masterfully unpacks a paper by Volkow et al. on sleep deprivation in 6/4/12 Sciam.


1. “Our New Era of Anxiety,” an excerpt from Allan Horwitz and Jerome Wakefield’s new book, “All We Have to Fear,” in 6/2/12 Salon.

2. “An Unnplanned Post-Mortem,” Mind Hacks on suicide.

3. “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times for Psychiatric Disease,” Nature Neuroscience on psychiatric genetics.

4. The h-madness post on the War, Memory, Trauma (link to Centre for the History of Medicine exhibit).

5. A must read: Didier Fassin and Richard Rechtman’s “The Empire of Trauma: An Inquiry into the Condition of Victimhood” (Princeton, 2009/trans). Link to intro.

BONUS: This year I participated in the consistently wonderful meetings hosted by UCLA’s Mind, Medicine, and Culture interdisciplinary discussion group, which is led by Carole Browner, Linda Garro, Doug Hollan, and Jason Throop.  It’s definitely worth it to join the list-serve when MMAC resumes next Fall.

This entry was posted in challenges of interdisciplinary research by Constance A. Cummings. Bookmark the permalink.

About Constance A. Cummings

Constance A. Cummings, PhD, is Project Director of the non-profit Foundation for Psychocultural Research, which supports and advances interdisciplinary research and scholarship at the intersection of brain, mind, culture, and mental health and illness. She is co-editor (with Carol Worthman, Paul Plotsky, and Dan Schechter) of Formative Experiences: The Interaction of Caregiving, Culture, and Developmental Psychobiology (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and (with Laurence Kirmayer and Rob Lemelson) the forthcoming Re-Visioning Psychiatry: Cultural Phenomenology, Critical Neuroscience, and Global Mental Health (Cambridge, 2015). She received her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from New York University.

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