Centre for Culture and the Mind (CULTMIND)
April 2023 - March 2029
University of Copenhagen
Can the emotional worlds of diverse groups of people be translated? Are the core characteristics of the human mind universal across cultures, ethnic groups and ‘civilisations’? Can the ‘psy’ disciplines be global?
The Centre for Culture and the Mind explores the puzzling relationship between cultural difference and the human psyche from a variety of disciplinary perspectives: historical, anthropological, psychiatric, sociological, literary and psychological. It zooms in on the core questions about the universality or cultural specificity of the human mind, which remain as difficult to answer today as they were a century ago.
CULTMIND researches how the human mind and common humanity have been imagined in different cultural, sociopolitical and disciplinary contexts, examining the assumptions and forces which shaped such definitions. By analysing how different cross-cultural models of the psyche were formulated and critiqued, the Centre’s interdisciplinary team will develop a new framework for understanding cross-cultural interventions, which pushes beyond the binary of universalism and cultural relativism in order to arrive at a more nuanced model of interaction between socio-cultural contexts and ideas of the psyche.
CULTMIND links a leading cross-cultural psychiatric clinic – the Competence Centre for Transcultural Psychiatry (CTP), Mental Health Centre Ballerup, Denmark – with a vibrant network of humanities researchers in order to pioneer a concrete model for collaboration between humanities and clinical research agendas in cross-cultural studies of the mind. It explores how humanities research can help answer the question of how cultural contexts and beliefs affect clinical encounters.
CULTMIND proposes that the issue of culture-mind relationship lays at the core of many social, political and medical debates: within cross-cultural psychiatry/psychotherapy, in trauma studies, and in migration and refugee studies. It consists of four interrelated thematic strands: cross-cultural research in human sciences; cross-cultural notions of trauma and resilience; cross-cultural therapeutics and creative mind; and cross-cultural encounters and population movements (migration).