University of Saskatchewan

July 28, 2014   

Anthropologist honoured with U of S Distinguished Researcher Award

Anthropologist James Waldram
May 24, 2013

Anthropologist James Waldram is the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Researcher Award. Waldram, a professor in the Departments of Psychology and Archaeology and Anthropology, is internationally recognized for this community-based research in medical, psychological and cultural anthropology. He will receive his award at the university’s June convocation ceremonies.

“Professor Waldram is a pioneer in collaborative, community-based research,” said Vice-President Research Karen Chad. “His research program has been very diverse but has brought particular attention to issues and policy surrounding Aboriginal health. This is an area that is so important to our university as part of our signature area related to Aboriginal Peoples and Jim has had a major impact on making the U of S a leader in this area.”

Waldram’s research program has advanced knowledge on Aboriginal health and healing, cultural epidemiology, environmental risks and rights, and institutional ethnography. He is currently working with an interdisciplinary team to study the significance and forms of healing knowledge of the Q’eqchi Maya healers in Belize. Waldram’s work in Belize, funded since 2009 by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, will also help to establish an archive of cultural material that documents healing practices through video and audio recordings. He was recently invited by the Government of Belize to present his finding and was applauded for his significant contributions to Q’eqchi cultural heritage.

Waldram has also focused his research on ethnographic studies of therapeutic programs for criminal offenders. His book, The Way of the Pipe: Aboriginal Spirituality and Symbolic Healing in Canadian Prisons (1997) shed light on the place traditional healing holds in Aboriginal men’s experiences of incarceration and rehabilitation. More recently, Waldram undertook a multi-year study of the experience of prison-based sexual offender therapy. Funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, this work advanced anthropological and psychological models of healing and rehabilitation and led to another major publication, Hound Pound Narrative: Sexual Offender Habilitation and the Anthropology of Therapeutic Intervention (2012).

In 1995 Waldram co-authored Aboriginal Health in Canada, widely recognized as the first and most comprehensive volume on this topic and used in classrooms all over Canada, the United States and Australia. He also undertook a comprehensive study of Aboriginal mental health policies and treatment protocols in Canada and published his findings in the 2004 book Revenge of the Windigo.

Waldram holds BA in anthropology from the University of Waterloo and an MA in anthropology from the University of Manitoba. He joined the University of Saskatchewan faculty after completing his PhD in medical anthropology at the University of Connecticut in 1983.

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