2018 Advanced Study Institute

Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University

Advanced Study Institute in Cultural Psychiatry

Challenging Migrant Detention:
Human Rights, Advocacy and Mental Health

June 19 - 21, 2018
Montreal, Québec


The world is facing unprecedented numbers of forcibly displaced persons. Notions of the unwanted “Other”, the “illegal” migrant, and the “bogus” refugee are increasingly prominent in public discourse of destination countries, lending support to stringent border control policies whereby states incarcerate asylum seekers, undocumented migrants and other foreign nationals in immigration detention centres, prisons and camps. This structural violence primarily targets racialized populations from the Global South.

This international conference and workshop will bring together scholars in the fields of cultural psychiatry, human rights, criminology, psychology, anthropology and sociology, along with practitioners working with detained migrants, to consider the current trends in immigration detention and border control. Questions to be addressed will include:

  • What are the roles of research, clinical interventions, judicial procedures and advocacy in improving detention conditions and promoting alternatives to detention?
  • How can humanitarian, human rights and sociopolitical perspectives be integrated in a comprehensive critical analysis of immigration detention?
  • How does advocacy complement clinical care in promoting the mental health and well-being of migrants facing detention?
  • How can we address the fears and prejudices used to legitimate immigration detention?
  • What is the role of migrant resistance strategies?
  • How can detainees’ lived experiences clarify the impact of immigration detention?
  • How can we navigate the ethical and methodological challenges of fieldwork with detainees?

Workshop: (June 19) for researchers, practitioners and advocates working on issues of immigration detention and border control, at the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry, Room G-23, 4333 Chemin de la Côte Ste-Catherine, Montreal, QC

Public Conference: (June 20-21) New Residence Hall, 3625 Park Ave, Montreal, QC

Guest Faculty: Eleanor Acer, Dominic Aitken, Efrat Arbel, Idil Atak, Jacqueline Bhabha, Mary Bosworth, Andrew Crosby, Daniela DeBono, Francesca Esposito, Andriani Fili, Michael Flynn, Alice Gerlach, Hanna Gros, Jenny Jeanes, Blerina Kellezi, Sarah Mares, Samer Muscati, Delphine Nakache, Maayan Ravid

McGill Faculty : Janet Cleveland, François Crépeau, Rachel Kronick, Cécile Rousseau, Kazue Takamura

The 2018 Advanced Study Institute was jointly organized by the Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry and the SHERPA Research Centre, in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other associations.

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