PhD scholarship focusing on history and/or literature, and mental health

A newly advertised PhD position at the University of Coenhagen focusing on history and/or literature and mental health, and part of the ‘Covid-19 and global mental health’ project, may interest AHP readers. The deadline for applications is 9 January 2022, at 23:59 CET. Full details below.

The Department of English, Germanic and Romance studies (ENGEROM), University of Copenhagen (UCPH), invites applications for one PhD scholarship (focus on history and/or literature, and mental health), starting on 1 April 2022.

The position is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation project ‘Covid-19 and global mental health: The importance of cultural contexts.’

The successful candidates will work closely with the project’s PI Ana Antic and will join a dynamic international research team, based at ENGEROM.

Description of the project

This project will explore critically the emerging literature and debates about global mental health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and related social isolation and economic downturn. It will examine how cultural and social difference is constructed and worked into the current mental health research. The purpose of the project is twofold. Firstly, it aims to explore the emerging Covid-19 mental health literature (psychiatric, psychological and anthropological) and patients’ narratives in different cultural contexts in order to look beyond the discourses of universality that dominate current research, and to see how different societies have experienced the pandemic/lockdown psychologically, and what is highlighted and diagnosed (or self-diagnosed) as the core problem in different socio-cultural settings. Secondly, it will analyse critically the methodology and research instruments used in the existing mental health studies as well as the assumed universality of their diagnostic concepts. The project rests on the idea that psychiatric treatment results and health outcomes would have more impact if the medical perspective in psychiatry is complemented by a scholarly consideration of local, social, cultural and political-economic factors, which shape the lived experience of and social/communal responses to mental illness.

Qualifications and description

This is a collaborative project, and the PhD student will be a core member of a research team, which, in addition to the PI, includes four postdoctoral research fellows.

The successful candidate is expected to work both independently and in collaboration with the team. They should hold an MA degree in the field of history, literature, anthropology or medical humanities, with a focus on psychiatry (including cross-cultural psychiatry) and mental health. They should be interested in expanding their knowledge of the history and current debates in the field of cross-cultural psychiatry and global mental health, and the history of colonial and post-colonial ‘psy’ sciences.

The candidate will be expected to conduct original research in medical/psychiatric and historical archives and institutions, and to produce a doctoral dissertation focused on analysing both clinical and non-clinical (literary, anthropological, socio-cultural) narratives and discussions of mental health and Covid-19 in Nigeria and Western Africa.

Within the research team, the candidate will take part in broader intellectual and methodological discussions around the project’s goals and general directions. Experience with oral interviews and with collaborative work will be an asset. In terms of outputs, in addition to the PhD thesis, the candidate will work together with the team on developing a database of relevant Covid-19 mental health literature.

The candidate is also expected to take active part in the academic life of the department.

For further information, including more details on the ‘Covid-19 and global mental health’ project, please contact project PI Ana Antic at

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.