Culture-bound syndromes in Popular Culture

Irina  Pelea's picture

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Call for Papers
February 3, 2022 to April 15, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Popular Culture Studies, Southeast Asian History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Social Sciences

Dear colleagues,


You are invited to submit an abstract for the upcoming edited collection Culture-bound syndromes in Popular Culture. The edited collection volume aims to provide in-depth and analytical insight into the representations of cultural imagery and narratives of various culture-bound syndromes through the lens of global and national popular culture, covering movies, television, visual arts, fashion, festivals, popular music, and graphic novels.

What does a culture-bound syndrome mean? The concept has come to define a pattern of symptoms (mental, physical, and relational) experienced only by members of a specific cultural group and recognized as a disorder by members of those groups.

“Culture-bound Syndromes in Popular Culture” takes its readers on a journey across (popular) cultures and introduces them to an entirely new subfield of studies, at the conjunction of medical anthropology and popular culture, focusing on folk illnesses.

Thus, this book covers a broad range of case studies, subjects, texts, and cultural practices that lie at the intersection of folk illnesses and cultural studies and include national, transnational, and international media representations, with an accent on the reception and interpretation of the phenomenon from the perspective of its original space.

We warmly invite established and emerging scholars specializing in all areas of media and cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, social/cultural geography, and other relevant research fields to propose a book chapter on an individual culture-bound syndrome and its representations in popular culture. Both single and multiple-authored works will be considered. All work should be original and previously unpublished.

We are also very interested in hearing open proposals for possible chapters about other cultural syndromes if the Table of Contents strikes you as improvable in any way.

Chapters might explore but are not limited to:

SECTION 1 East Asia and India

  • Zou huo ru mo (China)
  • Dhat syndrome (India)
  • Hikikomori (Japan) Already taken!
  • Taijin Kyofusho (Japan) Already taken!
  • Hwabyeong (South Korea)
  • Pa-leng (Taiwan)

SECTION 2 Southeast Asia

  • Lanti (Philippines)
  • Latah (Indonesia, Malaysia)
  • Amok (Malaysia)
  • Koro (Singapore)

SECTION 3 Latin America and Native American culture

  • Locura
  • Mal de pelea
  • Nervios
  • Susto
  • Saladera (Peruvian Amazon)
  • Windigo Psychosis (Native American)

SECTION 4 Africa and the Middle East

  • Zar (Israel, Ethiopia)
  • Ufufuyane, Saka (Kenya)
  • Voodoo death (Haiti, Africa, Australia)

Routledge has expressed keen interest in the volume for their Research in Cultural and Media Studies Series.


Key dates

Abstract submission deadline: 15 April 2022

Notification of acceptance: 30 April 2022

Full chapter submission (max 8000 words): 1 November 2022

Publication: January 2023


Please send in a working title, abstracts of max 500 words, and a brief biographical note of 150 words to:

Please feel free to contact the volume’s editor (Irina Pelea) with any questions or queries. I look forward to receiving your abstracts.

Contact Info: 

Professor Irina Pelea, Titu Maiorescu University, Bucharest, Romania.