UCL Anthropology


Joseph Calabrese


Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 5587

Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 8632

E-mail: j.calabrese@ucl.ac.uk

Room: 242

Reader of Medical Anthropology, Tutor of MSc Medical Anthropology

Background and Qualifications

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Social Medicine (NIMH Training Program in Culture and Mental Health), Department of Social Medicine
Harvard Medical School, 2007-2009

Postdoctoral Clinical Fellow in Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychiatry
The Cambridge Hospital/Harvard Medical School, 2006-2007

Cannon Fellow in Patient Experiences and Health Policy, Green Templeton College
University of Oxford 2010-2011 

Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) and Associate Fellow (AFBPsS)
British Psychological Society

PhD, Committee on Human Development
The University of Chicago

MA, Anthropology
University of Illinois

General Interests

Medical anthropology and clinical ethnography, psychological anthropology/cultural psychiatry, mind/self/personhood, severe mental illness, stigma, healing, ritual, postcolonial revitalization movements, family life and comparative human development, Native North Americans, African Diaspora societies, Bhutan


I lecture on medical anthropology, clinical ethnography, and the anthropology of ritual.


My research in Medical Anthropology combines ethnographic and clinical frames of reference to develop a culturally inclusive understanding of health and illness, especially in the areas of mental health and understandings of "the normal," the use and abuse of psychoactive substances, and the connections between mental health systems and religious or ritual systems.

My ethnographic fieldwork includes two years within the Navajo Nation studying a healing movement called the Native American Church, several months spent in Haiti attending spirit possession rituals, several years studying illness stigma and recovery efforts among persons with severe mental illness in Chicago, and work on an ethnographic study of patient experiences at various teaching hospitals in the area of Boston, Massachusetts.

My latest field site is the Kingdom of Bhutan, where I have spent four summers thus far combining fieldwork with volunteer work at the country's National Referral Hospital.

I am interested in interdisciplinary studies. My training and research have been marked by a purposeful oscillation between anthropological and clinical disciplines, which I have found very useful in clarifying the nature and limitations of each, allowing a greater reflexivity in practice within each discipline. During my doctoral studies at the University of Chicago, I combined training in health-related anthropology (including long-term fieldwork) with training in clinical psychology. I then completed separate Clinical Psychology and Medical Anthropology fellowships at Harvard Medical School. Prior to joining the faculty at UCL, I was the Cannon Fellow in Patient Experiences and Health Policy at Green Templeton College, Oxford.

I have published in the areas of medical anthropology, anthropology of ritual, clinical psychology, and severe mental illness. My publications on healing cover a diverse range of therapeutic interventions, including systems of traditional medicine, healing rituals, hospital-based care, psychotherapy, and self-help. I recently published a monograph based on my Navajo fieldwork called A Different Medicine: Postcolonial Healing in the Native American Church as well as an edited book that explores approaches to the study and use of experiences of health and illness.

For more information and publication reprints, please visit  www.josephdcalabrese.com.

Selected publications:

Calabrese, Joseph D. 2013. A Different Medicine: Postcolonial Healing in the Native American Church. New York: Oxford University Press.

Ziebland, Sue, Angela Coulter, Joseph D. Calabrese, and Louise Locock (eds). 2013. Understanding and Using Health Experiences: Improving Patient Care. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Calabrese, Joseph D. 2011. "The Culture of Medicine" as Revealed in Patients' Perspectives on Psychiatric Treatment. In Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good, Sarah S. Willen, Seth Donal Hannah, Ken Vickery, and Lawrence Taeseng Park (Eds). Shattering Culture: American Medicine Responds to Cultural Diversity. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Calabrese, Joseph D. 2008. Clinical Paradigm Clashes: Ethnocentric and Political Barriers to Native American Efforts at Self-Healing. Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 36(3): 334-353. (also reprinted in Robert A. LeVine's book Psychological Anthropology: A Reader on Self in Culture)

Napier, D.A., C. Arcano, B. Butler, J. Calabrese, et al. 2014. Culture and Health (The UCL Lancet Commission). The Lancet 384: 1607-39.

Calabrese, Joseph D. and Patrick W. Corrigan. 2005. Beyond Dementia Praecox: Findings from Long-Term Follow-up Studies of Schizophrenia. In R. Ralph and P. Corrigan (Eds.), Recovery in Mental Illness: Broadening Our Understanding of Wellness. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Calabrese, Joseph D. 2007. The Therapeutic Use of Peyote in the Native American Church. In M. Winkelman and T. Roberts (Eds.), Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogenic Substances as Treatments, 2 Vols. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger.

Calabrese, Joseph D. 2001. The Supreme Court versus Peyote: Consciousness Alteration, Cultural Psychiatry and the Dilemma of Contemporary Subcultures. Anthropology of Consciousness 12(2):4-19.

Corrigan, Patrick W. and Joseph D. Calabrese. 2003. Cognitive Therapy and Schizophrenia. In M. Reinecke & D. Clark (Eds.), Cognitive Therapy across the Lifespan: Evidence and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Corrigan, Patrick W. and Joseph D. Calabrese. 2004. Strategies for Assessing and Diminishing Self-Stigma. In P. Corrigan (Ed.), On the Stigma of Mental Illness: Practical Strategies for Research and Social Change. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Calabrese, Joseph D. 1994. Reflexivity and Transformation Symbolism in the Navajo Peyote Meeting. Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology 22(4): 494-527.

Kitson, Alison L., Clare Dow, Joseph D. Calabrese, Louise Locock, and Åsa Muntlin Athlin. 2013. Stroke Survivors' Experiences of the Fundamentals of Care: A Qualitative Analysis. International Journal of Nursing Studies 50(3):392-403.

Corrigan, Patrick W., Joseph D. Calabrese, Sarah E. Diwan, Cornelius B. Keogh, Lorraine Keck & Carol Mussey. 2002. Some Recovery Processes in Mutual-Help Groups for Persons with Mental Illness I: Qualitative Analysis of Program Materials and Testimonies. Community Mental Health Journal 38(4):287-301.