2016 Meeting of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research

Keynote Speakers

Ed Hagen
Washington State University Vancouver

Paul Harris
Harvard University

Catherine Panter-Brick
Yale University

Barbara Rogoff
University of California, Santa Cruz

Invited Lecture

Tony Johnson
Cultural Committee Chair for the Chinook Tribe


Keynote Presentation Schedule

Wednesday Invited Lecture

Tony Johnson
Invited lecture title: Revitalizing Chinook-the People, Languate and Lifeways

Tony A. Johnson was recently elected Chairman of the Chinook Indian Nation, is a scholar of language and culture, and an artist born in his family’s traditional territory on Willapa Bay. He attended the University of Washington and Central Washington University and directed the Language Program for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in Oregon from its beginnings in 1997 until 2010. He acquired Chinuk Wawa as a second language from his elders.  Johnson currently is the Education Director for the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe, is a teacher of students of all ages and lives with his wife and five children on the Willapa River in Washington State.


Thursday Keynote Presentations

Edward H. Hagen
Keynote Title: Challenging pathology models of common "mental illnesses”: the case of suicidal behavior across cultures

Edward H. Hagen, Kristen L. Syme and Zachary H. Garfield

According to the NIH, in 2013, 18.5% of US adults had a mental illness. Global estimates are similar, ranging from 9-19%. Mood disorders are major contributors to these high rates. Unlike common non-infectious diseases like cancer, stroke, and heart disease, rates of depression and other mental illnesses are higher in young adults.  In the absence of infection, no other organ shows such a high rate of dysfunction in young adults. Either the brain is uniquely vulnerable to malfunction, or many distressing psychological states have been misclassified as illnesses.

We investigate if suicidal behavior, an important symptom of depression, serves some important evolved function. Suicide causes more deaths than all wars and homicides combined. There is abundant research on suicidality in Western populations, but research on suicide among non-Western peoples is limited. Most notably, few studies analyze suicidality within small scale, non-industrial societies. Using ethnographic data from 53 cultures, this study tested two evolutionary theories of suicidal behavior: (1) the inclusive fitness model, which proposes that successful suicide would increase the inclusive fitness of individuals with low reproductive potential who are a burden on kin, and (2) the bargaining model, which proposes that suicide attempts are a costly signal of need, with completed suicides an unfortunate byproduct. Results indicate limited support for the inclusive fitness model, which might apply primarily to older adults in harsh environments, and widespread support for most elements of the bargaining model, especially among younger healthy adolescents and adults.

Ed Hagen received his BA in mathematics from UC Berkeley, and spent some time working in an organic polymer lab before finally deciding to pursue anthropology at UC Santa Barbara, where he got his Ph.D. in 1999. He specializes in evolutionary approaches to drug use and depression. He was hired by WSU in 2007.


Catherine Panter-Brick
Keynote Title: Evaluating Humanitarian Action: Stress and Resilience in Syrian Refugee Youth

Catherine Panter-Brick is Professor of Anthropology, Health, and Global Affairs at Yale University. Her research addresses issues of risk and resilience in contexts of poverty, homelessness, famine, armed conflict, and social marginalization. She has published extensively on hope, trauma, violence, and mental health in the form of systematic reviews and scientific articles, and has co-edited six books, most recently Pathways to Peace (2014) and Medical Humanitarianism: Ethnographies of Practice (2015). For her work in humanitarian areas such as Niger and Afghanistan, she has been awarded the Lucy Mair Medal by the Council of the Royal Anthropology Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. This awards honors excellence in the application of anthropology to the relief of poverty and distress and to the active recognition of human dignity. 


Friday Keynote Presentation

Paul L. Harris
Keynote Title: Children's belief in unobservable phenomena

Paul Harris is a developmental psychologist with interests in the development of cognition, emotion and imagination. For many years, he taught at Oxford University where he was a Professor of Developmental Psychology and a Fellow of St John's College. In 1998, he was as elected as fellow of the British Academy. In 2001, he moved to Harvard University where he holds the Victor S. Thomas Professorship in the Graduate School of Education. His latest book is: ‘Trusting what you’re told: How children learn from others’ (Harvard University Press, 2012).


Saturday Keynote Presentation

Barbara Rogoff
Keynote Title: Learning by Observing and Pitching In:   A Cultural Paradigm

Barbara Rogoff is UCSC Foundation Distinguished Professor of Psychology.  She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Education, Association for Psychological Sciences, American Anthropological Association, American Psychological Association, and American Educational Research Association.  She has been Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Kellogg Fellow, Spencer Fellow, and Osher Fellow of the Exploratorium.  She has served as Editor of Human Development and committee member on the Science of Learning for the U.S. National Academy of Science. 

She received the 2013 Award for Distinguished Lifetime Contributions to Cultural and Contextual Factors in Child Development, from the Society for Research in Child Development.  Her recent books have also received major awards: 

  • Learning Together: Children and Adults in a School Community (Oxford, 2001, Finalist for the Maccoby Award of Division 7 of the American Psychological Association); 
  • The Cultural Nature of Human Development (Oxford, 2003; William James Book Award of Division 1 of the American Psychological Association); and 
  • Developing Destinies:  A Mayan Midwife and Town (Oxford, 2011; Maccoby Award of Division 7 of the American Psychological Association).

She recently gave a TEDx talk, based on her research on children learning to collaborate: https://www.facebook.com/barbararogoffpublications/videos/1116724285019770/?video_source=pages_finch_main_video.