13-14 March, 2013Organizer:
Anthropology Department/ CAPP
School of Social and Political Sciences
Technical University of Lisbon
Lisbon, Portugal
Venue: ISCSP, LisbonIn the book review on Edwin Wallace’s Freud and Anthropology, Joan Mark argued that no “scientific discipline outside his own gave Sigmund Freud’s ideas such long-sustained and critical attention as did anthropology. Conversely, no other social or behavioral science so affected Freud’s thinking over the course of his long career” (1984:444). This statement reveals the long-lasting dialogue between anthropology and psychoanalysis, drawing our attention to the development of such relationship over the last one hundred years. In fact, anthropology’s influence on Freud’s theories is clearly acknowledged in one of his most provoking works, Totem and Taboo. Published in 1913, Totem and Taboo reflected Freud’s incursions into anthropological knowledge, presenting arguments that were inspired by evolutionist proposals, such as Frazer’s writings on the notion of the totem and about taboo beliefs and practices.
The subtitle intrigued many anthropologists: Some points of agreement between the mental lives of savages and neurotics. Yet, what Freud suggested was a parallelism between individual and asocial forms of neurosis (as a subjective status) and certain “cultural products” such as taboos, animism and totemic beliefs. Thus, Freud showed how psychoanalysis could explain these phenomena and could be applied or implied in cultural formations as identification and defensive mechanisms.
Although hardly avoiding intense criticism by anthropologists such as Boas and Malinowski, Freud’s theories did, however, have a profound impact upon anthropology, receiving an enthusiastic reception among Culture and Personality theorists during the middle decades of the 20th century. Leading anthropologists of this trend relied on Freud’s contributions to develop approaches based on the relationship between culture and personality, expanding their views on the importance of culture in personality formation, on the constitution of culture patterns and on the formulation of national character.
One hundred years after the publication of Totem and Taboo (1913), this two-day seminar seeks to address the influence of Freud’s legacy in contemporary anthropological thought. It also aims to explore the new interface between the two disciplines, namely through the recent work produced on kinship and on the cognitive approaches to the study of religion.
The seminar intends to bring together anthropologists and scholars in related disciplines whose research focuses on anthropology, culture and cognition by presenting their work and by engaging in fruitful academic debate and possible future co-operation.
The seminar will include a keynote lecture, panel presentations (day one), and the screening movie of David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method by followed by a roundtable discussion (day two). An undergraduate student’s poster session will also be held during the seminar.


Papers are invited on issues related to any of the following themes:

– Freud and Anthropology
– Freud and Religion: biological and social drives
– Anthropology and Psychology today: cross-cultural studies.
– Culture, Cognition and Language
– Culture, Cognition and Personality
– Transcultural Psychiatry
– Cognition, Emotions and Culture
– Behavior, Culture, Sex and Aggression
– Kinship, Sex and Cognition
– Culture, Cognition and Colours
– Memory, Trauma and Ritual
– Development and Youth Education

Please download the abstract template and follow the instructions provided in and send a title and a 250-word proposal in English until October 30, 2012 to

The selected participants will be notified by November 30, 2012.

Student Poster Session

A poster session will take place during the seminar, open to undergraduate students currently conducting research in anthropology, sociology, social work and psychology. Students are encouraged to showcase their research in these fields even if their research findings are not complete yet.
A 100-word abstract with the poster topic and goals should be prepared and send until February 5, 2013. Students presenting finalized work should also add further sections as follows: methodology, results, discussion and conclusions.

The selected participants will be notified by February 15, 2013.

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