The SPA / Lemelson Conference Fund

NOTE: The SPA and the Robert Lemelson Foundation are currently discussing the possibility of renewing the funding agreement that supports the SPA/Lemelson Conference Fund. This conversation includes assessing past contributions made by the program as well as considering ways in which the program might be improved for the future. No proposal will be solicited or funded for 2016-2017. If the program is renewed for 2017-18, emailed announcements will be sent to the SPA membership and on the SPA’s listserv.



The Robert Lemelson Foundation has generously agreed to provide $30,000 per year to the Society for Psychological Anthropology to support conferences and workshops that contribute to important developments in the field for the next two years (2014 and 2015). These funds will be used to support conferences that engage innovative and significant topics, issues, and theoretical/methodological perspectives in any subfield of psychological anthropology as well as conferences that seek to bring psychological anthropology into generative dialogue with other related fields of inquiry. We hope to support meetings that will have real significance for the field and result in published books or journal collections. To date 100% of funding recipients have produced edited volumes or special issues of academic journals as the result of the conference.

Conference funds are available to support two types of events. The first are pre- and post-conference events held prior to or immediately following the SPA Biennial Meetings (April 9-12, 2015) or the AAA Annual Meetings (Nov 18-22, 2015). Funding for these events may be used for all relevant conference related expenses and attendees’ room and board. Travel expenses can only be sought for participants who would not otherwise be attending the larger meeting around which the pre- or post-conference event is being planned. We anticipate providing funds of up to $10,000 for these events. The second type of conference is a more traditional, “stand alone” meeting, and funding can be requested for the full range of conference expenses, and all participants’ travel, room and board. Requests for funding up to a maximum of $30,000 will be considered. We encourage all applicants to apply for other sources of funding, so that the SPA may be able to support a larger number of applicants.

The proposed conference must be held between March 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016.


The complete application should be a single PDF or MS Word document that include all of the following sections listed below. It should be single-spaced, and written using a 12 point font with one inch margins one all sides.

  1. Cover sheet, including title of the proposed conference, list of organizers with institutional affiliations and contact information, and proposed location and dates of conference. Please note that the proposed dates should be specific (i.e., May 29th and 30th).
  2. Topic of the conference: (300-500 words maximum): What topical issue, theoretical question, or area of research will the proposed conference address?
  3. How will the proposed conference meet the goals of the SPA / Lemelson Conference Program? (250 words maximum): Specifically, in which ways is the conference’s proposed topic significant and innovative to the field of psychological anthropology?
  4. Invited conference participants: Please provide names, institutional affiliations and areas of interest for proposed participants. Please indicate which of the individuals you have included have tentatively agreed to participate on the proposed dates. At least 75% of the invited conference participants mentioned in the application must have tentatively agreed to participate on the proposed dates.
  5. Conference activities (250 words maximum): Please describe how the conference or workshop will be organized and what events and activities will be held at the event. Please indicate whether or not the activities will be open to the general public. We encourage organizers to consider video recording keynote addresses and other presentations when possible for the purposes of making these talks available online to SPA members and the wider public.
  6. Proposed product of conference (250 words maximum): What is the proposed product of the conference (e.g., special issue, edited volume)? What, if any, initial contacts with editors or publishers have the organizers made? What steps will be taken at the conference to move towards this goal?
  7. Budget: Please provide a detailed budget for the proposed conference with justification for all expenses. We encourage applicants to seek other sources of funding in addition to the SPA / Lemelson Conference fund. Please indicate what other sources of funding, if any, you will seek to support the conference and the amounts to be requested.

Pre- and post-conferences will be funded up to $10,000 and stand-alone conferences up to $30,000. Funds can be used for all relevant conference expenses, including meeting room rentals, audio/visual expenses, conference programs, advertising, room and board for attendees, and other costs. Applications for stand-alone conferences can also request support for all transportation costs. Pre- and post-conference events can only request funding for transportation costs for attendees who would not otherwise attend the larger conference around which the proposed event is built. In calculating airfares, please use current fares obtained from travel agents or online services (e.g.,, American Airlines) for your proposed dates. Do not inflate these amounts with estimates on possible future increases in airfares or use a single average airfare to calculate for all participants.If your application is funded, the SPA will work with you to insure that your event is successful and we will increase our level of funding if there are legitimate, additional costs or price increases. There is the possibility of cost-sharing for pre- and post-conference events, so we request that you contact the SPA’s Secretary-Treasurer if you are planning such an event to discuss your budget.

Although it is not a funding priority, funds may be requested to compensate graduate students or event planners for their help with the arrangements for the events up to a maximum of $2,000 and only with adequate justification of the need and their specific contributions. Funds to help with publication costs (e.g., indexing and editing services) may not be requested as part of the initial application, but we will consider a future application once sufficient progress on an edited volume or special issue is made and if funding is available. Conference funding cannot be used to pay for indirect costs.

The deadline for applications for the 2015 funding cycle is Thursday, January 15, 2015. It is anticipated that a decision will be made by February 2. Please email your application to Jill Korbin, chair of the Selection committee, with a copy sent to Harold Odden, SPA Secretary-Treasurer. Please direct your questions on the application to Jill Korbin.

All award and selection committees abide by the SPA’s Conflict of Interest Statement and Recusal Policy.


Current Awardees


Clarice Rios (State University of Rio de Janeiro) and Elizabeth Fein (Duquesne University)
Autism Spectrum Disorders in Global, Local and Personal Perspective: A Cross-Cultural Workshop



Juliet McMullin (University of California, Riverside), Sherryl Vint, and David Lo (University of California, Riverside)
Comics and Medicine: Spaces of Care


Past Conferences


Claudia Strauss (Pitzer College) and Jack Friedman (University of Oklahoma)
Culture and Political Subjectivities


Cameron Hay-Rollins (Miami University, Ohio)
Methods That Matter: Anthropological and Mixed Methods to Understand Contemporary Social Issues and Inform Real World Policy


Naomi Quinn (Duke University)
and Jeannette Mageo (Washington State University)
Rethinking Attachment and Separation in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Tanya Luhrmann (Stanford University)
Toward an Anthropological Theory of Mind


Alex Hinton (Rutgers University)
and Devon Hinton (Massachusetts General Hospital)
Genocide and Mass Violence: Memory, Symptom, and Intervention

Daniel Lende (University of South Florida)
and Greg Downey (Macquarie University)
The Encultured Brain: Advances in Neuroanthropology


David Lancy (Utah State University)
Suzanne Gaskins (Northeastern Illinois University)
and John Bock (California State University, Fullerton)
Restaging Childhood

Eileen Anderson-Fye (Case Western Reserve University)
and Jill Korbin (Case Western Reserve University)
New Directions in Policy-Relevant Research on Adolescence: Perspectives from Psychological Anthropology

Don Seeman (Emory University)
and Sarah Willen (Southern Methodist University)
What’s at Stake in the Ethnography of Human Experience? Phenomenological and Psychoanalytic Perspectives