Whitney Duncan

Whitney Duncan

Department of Anthropology
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Northern Colorado
Campus Box 90
Greeley, Colorado 80639

Office: Candelaria 2263
Phone: (970) 351-2260
Fax: (970) 351-2890
Email: Whitney.Duncan@unco.edu

Office Hours:  By appointment







I am a medical and psychological anthropologist whose research focuses on the cultural and socioeconomic dimensions of mental health in global perspective. In particular, I have researched the globalization of psychology and psychiatry in southern Mexico (Oaxaca) as well as the emotional and mental health impacts of migration for Oaxacan migrants and their non-migrating family members. I have also conducted ethnographic research in the southwestern United States.

Focusing on experiences and understandings of emotions, mental health, and psychological and psychiatric services, I am concerned with how individuals and communities make sense of and seek to resolve social and personal distress. I examine the subjective impacts of broader global and domestic processes such as migration, healthcare reform and provision, and widely circulating "psy" ideas about what it means to be a healthy person in the contemporary world, asking how such processes are transformative for and transformed by particular cultural contexts.

I am currently working on a book manuscript, Transforming Therapy: Culture, Mental Health, and Psy-Globalization in a Changing Mexico, based on my ongoing research in Oaxaca.

Additionally, I recently launched Project HealthViews, a collaborative, interdisciplinary medical anthropological project on understandings, experiences, and perceptions of health and healthcare. The project’s first phase, Project HealthViews Colorado, is a community engagement collaboration between myself, UNC students, and Salud Family Health Centers. The goal of this phase is to help Salud better understand their diverse patient population and best meet their patients’ needs while also providing UNC students hands-on health-related research experience in the local community.

Email me if you’re interested in getting involved!
Project HealthViews in UNC Today


My main goal as a professor is to promote students’ development as curious, socially responsible, global citizens who think critically and creatively. My teaching approach is deeply informed by (1) my research and applied work with disadvantaged and underrepresented segments of Mexican and American society, and (2) my anthropological training, which emphasizes intercultural understanding, social critique, and hands-on, participatory research.

My work with marginalized communities in Mexico and the United States contributes to my belief that diversity is the very foundation of productive learning environments. I work with individuals whose perspectives have been systematically devalued and who often have not been afforded the opportunity to receive education. Their experiences inspire me to work toward full inclusion in the classroom by fostering an experiential learning environment in which students of all backgrounds feel empowered to bring their viewpoints to the table. I am also committed to working closely with the community outside of the classroom and to help students develop hands-on projects in which they do the same. In my classes we make explicit connections between theory and practice, using academic and non-academic texts and other media to explore issues like immigration, global health disparities, and human rights in a variety of settings.

I currently teach Medical Anthropology (ANT355), The Anthropology of Globalization (ANT313), Field Methods in Cultural Anthropology (ANT350), and Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (ANT110; both face-to-face and online). Please contact me for syllabus requests.

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