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Ulrich Teucher

Ulrich Teucher

Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Office: Arts 175.2
Phone: 966-2529
Email: ulrich.teucher@usask.ca
Website: https://wiki.usask.ca/display/Illness/Patient+Perspectives+of+Life+with+Illness%2C+Disability%2C+and+Trauma

Graduate Students

Andersen, Devon, “Epilepsy and self: Metaphor in chronic illness” (CIHR-RPP Doctoral Fellowship, Department of Psychology). 2008-

Carr, Tracey, “Exploring how surgical patients wait: Implications for quality of life” (CIHR Doctoral Fellowship, Health Sciences Program, School of Medicine). 2008-2013

Hammond, Chad, “Towards existentialist cancer care: What are the meanings of “experience” and “meaning” (Dean's Doctoral Fellowship, Department of Psychology). 2008-2013

Hilario Hernandez, Javier, "Cultural expectations of counseling in First Nations communities (Department of Psychology). 2014-

McHenry, Stacey "Narratives of Women living with Bipolar Disorder" (Dean's Doctoral Fellowship, Department of Psychology). Jan 2012 -

Satizabal Parra, Katherine, “Internal Exiles: Displaced Colombian Women’s Narratives of Parenting” (SSHRC, Graduate Research Scholarship, Teaching Fellowship; Department of Psychology). Sept 2012 -

 

Honours Students

Kalthoff, Dustin. The entrepreneurial experience: An examination of work and life. Dept. of Psychology, 2012-2013.

Reese, Miriam. The trickster: Myths of ambiguity in the autobiographies of cancer patients. Dept. of Psychology, 2011-2012. 

Reimer, Jessica.  Perception of time in young and aging adult cancer patients' autobiographies. Dept. of Psychology, 2009-2010. 

Fauchoux, Laurissa. Forms of Energy: How clients and practitioners make sense of Reiki. Dept. of Psychology, 2009-2010. 

Bergin, April.  The experience of Irish immigrant women in Canada. Dept. of Psychology, 2007-2008.

Hammond, Chad. Cancer and existential concerns. Dept. of Psychology, 2007-2008. 

McHenry, StaceyChildren’s Developing Self-Knowledge: What is Different about Thinking and Dreaming? Dept. of Psychology, 2006-2007.

Yonan, Jesay. Using alternative methods in the treatment of clinical depression. Dept. of Psychology, 2006-2007.

 

Courses Taught 

MED   105 Professional Skills: "Patient Narratives" Medical Humanities Seminars, College of Medicine, 2010 -

PSY    803.3 Culture and Human Development

PSY    498.3 Mixed Methods in Cross-Cultural Health Psychology

PSY    316.3 Social and Emotional Development

PSY    214.3 Adolescence

PSY    213.3 Child Development

PSY    121.3 Developmental and Social Bases of Psychology

PSY    120.3 Biological and Cognitive Bases of Psychology

PSY    110.6 Introduction to Psychology

SPST  898.3  Narrative in Psychology: Analyzing Narratives of Health and Illness

SPST  898.3 Narrative Psychology: Poetics of Illness Narratives

SPST  898.3 Advanced Culture and Human Development

 

Other

Book Review Editor: BJP British Journal of Psychology 2007-2013, renewed 2013-2018

Public Service: Member of Board of Directors, Hope Cancer Help Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 2008-2013.

Research

Short Biography

I first trained as a pediatric nurse and worked in a children’s cancer ward in Hamburg, Germany. Working in India for two years, I explored Eastern philosophies and spiritualities with regard to self, health, and death and dying. After immigrating to Canada, I studied Comparative Literature and Psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. In my interdisciplinary and cross-cultural doctoral dissertation, entitled “Writing the Unspeakable: Metaphor in Cancer Narratives,” I examined the use of metaphor in cancer discourse (sponsored by SSHRC). In my postdoctoral studies I examined constructions of identity in the narratives of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal adolescents, with a focus on adolescent suicide (University of British Columbia, sponsored by CIHR and MSFHR), as well as children’s developing conceptions of self-knowledge (University of Nottingham, UK; sponsored by ESRC). Since 2005 I have been a member of the Program in Culture and Human Development, Department of Psychology, University of Saskatchewan.


Research Interests: In most general terms my research engages with Culture, Human Development, and Public Health.

 

Short Summary of Research Interests

In the beginning there was chaos; then, word and form ordered the world and brought humans alive with story – or so it is said in one of our central origin narratives. But how do we tell story when we find our very lives in chaos? This is the central question in my triple research interests in the interrelated fields of Culture, Health, and Human Development. More specifically, how do Indigenous peoples tell their stories, having been bereft of their language, culture, food, health, and land?  How do people with serious illness give word and form to their stories when the beginnings, middles, and endings of illness – and the body and self in illness - may be uncertain (e.g., bipolar disorder, cancer, dementia, epilepsy)? How do children make sense of themselves as the timelessness of childhood gives way to the past, present, and future of life and story? These research questions challenge the traditional boundaries of disciplines, often requiring a mix of qualitative and quantitative methodologies as we interpret finding our findings.

 

Detailed Summary

1) Protecting Indigenous Knowledge and Food Security: While our world population has been growing, and plant diversity and plant knowledge has been dramatically diminishing, most national responses have focused on improving the growing condition of the ten major existing crops. By contrast, my Malaysian research project wants to trace, document, and study plants that are being used be used by small communities of indigenous landholders and may not have been recognized as major crops. With my research in Malaysia I hope to document Indigenous peoples' knowledge and use of plants in Malaysia, specifically in Sarawak, Borneo. The knowledge that I am documenting, together with my indigenous collaborator Dr. Alexander Sayok, includes indigenous cultural knowledge and practices in a wide sense and seeks to preserve this knowledge for Indigenous peoples and our future.



2) Communicating Health and Illness:  This part of my research aims to trace how we make sense of life-threatening illnesses and trauma from childhood to old age, how these changes affect our sense of self and time, and how we struggle to give voice, metaphor, and narrative form to these experiences. With regard to my research on illness narratives I have developed an innovative interdisciplinary triple methodology, a “Therapeutic Psychopoetics”, as it were, using data-analytic mixed methods including both quantitative, statistical analyses (Psychology) and qualitative, literary analyses of narrative (Comparative Literature), substantiated by my nursing experience in oncology (Nursing). I have been applying this methodology in my

- PhD thesis and postdoctoral work with cancer patients of all ages, in Germany and Canada (supported by grants from SSHRC, CIHR, MSFHR)

- Saskatchewan Cancer & Aging Study (SHRF Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, 2007-2010)

- Canadian Cancer & Young Adulthood Study (SSHRC Social Sciences Humanities Research Council, 2009-2013)

In addition, I have been co-teaching, together with Marcel D'Eon (Health Sciences) a medical humanities seminar entitled "Patient Narratives" in the College of Medicine.




3) Children's Stories of Self:  As part of my postdoctoral work with Dr. Michael Chandler (University of British Columbia, I helped analyze the narratives of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal adolescents in BC, to better understand the problems of adolescent suicide (supported by grants from CIHR, MSFHR). My international studies with British, Japanese, and Saskatchewan Cree children, together with my colleagues Dr. Peter Mitchell (University of Nottingham) and Dr. Haruo Kikuno (Osaka Shoin University), explore what children in middle childhood know about themselves and what they think adults know about them. In the past (Rosenberg 1979), it was thought that children had little self-knowledge, deferring all authority about self-knowledge to their parents. Our research has shown that this perception is not true. Our cultural studies provide us with insights into the beautiful ways how children think about dreaming, thinking, the self, etc., that is, how children make sense of the world.

 

Research Method: “Que sçais-je?” or the Uncertainty of Knowledge and of all Human Endeavours

In his Essais (1587), the writer Michel Montaigne invites us into a human-centered conception of knowledge that lays no claim to absolute certainty but to a form of knowing that is grounded not in Descartes’ divisions but instead in proximity, that is, in the context of human relations, in meeting people, in the negotiation of trust: “if trust is restored, agreement, tolerance, and hence truth will follow” (Frampton 2011, p.9). Montaigne’s skepticism is summarized in one of his favourite sayings, “Que sçais-je?”

Indeed, the great physicist Jacob Bronowski shows us the terrible things that humans are capable of when they aspire to absolute certainty. He embodies this dramatically as he slowly and deliberately walks into a pond at Auschwitz into which the ashes of four mio people were flushed, and pleads with us: to think it possible that we are mistaken, that we must close the distance between the pushbutton order and the human act, and that we must touch people – at which Bronowski brings up a handful of fertile earth from below the water's surface . . . (Ascent of Man, 1973, Pt 6 of 6).

Both Montaigne and Bronowski urge us to consider that every judgment in science stands on the edge of error and is personal, and that science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible (Bronowski). Acknowledging our human interpretations of the world, they promote what could be called a Psychology of Research and Life, an appreciation of the experience of living itself, and of touching human lives.

In my work I pursue instrumental (problem-focused) interdisciplinarity, applying quantitative and/or qualitative methods according to each research problem. My fields of interdisciplinary interest range from the humanities and fine arts to the social and health sciences. In general, I follow an interpretative approach, informed by poststructuralism, hermeneutics, and the cultural history of ideas in literature, philosophy, and psychology. I believe that language is crucial in understanding different cultural constructions of health, illness, and identity. My Musqueam teacher was Elder Larry Grant (Musqueam Indian Band); my Cree teachers have been Joe Naytowhow (Sturgeon Lake), Julie Roy, and Darwin Chief (Onion Lake). I am currently learning Malay.

 

Research Lab

Narrative Lab (since 2007) 

As I see it, a research lab should help to stimulate critical thinking, in a creative space unencumbered by a university's often overwhelming structures and expectations. Out of chaos, stars are born. Current members: Bradley Campbell, Stacey McHenry, Nina McKinstry, Katherine Satizabal Parra, Rosemary Stephanson, Ben Dunning, Somaya Al-Ja'afreh, Melanie Dubyck, Stacey Squires, Ulrich Teucher. Discussion themes from recent lab meetings:

Mar 21, 2014: Freeman, Mark (2010), 'Even amidst': Rethiniking narrative coherence

Mar 14, 2014: Laurence Kirmyer (2000), Broken Narratives

Feb 28, 2014: Cheryl Mattingly (2008), Stories that are ready to break

Feb 14, 2014: Kristin Langellier (2001), Breast cancer, tattoo, and the narrative performance of identity (interview analysis)

Feb 7, 2014:  Lorrie Moore (1998), People Like That are the only people here: Canonical Babbling at Peed Onk (postmodern partner narrative by a mother with a newly-diagnosed child with Wilm's Tumor)

Jan 24, 2014: Catherine Kohler Riessman (2007), Narrative methods for the human sciences, Chs. 6 & 7 (Performance analysis; conclusion)

 

Publications

Articles in Refereed Journals

  • Carr, T., Teucher, U., & Casson, A. (accepted 26 Feb 2014). Time while waiting: Patients' experiences of scheduled surgery. Qualitative Health Research.

  • Hammond, C., Teucher, U., Duggleby, W., & Thomas-MacLean, R. (2012). An ‘unholy alliance’ of existential proportions: Negotiating discourses with men’s experiences of cancer and aging. Journal of Aging Studies, 26(2), 149-161. {Impact Factor: 1.427 (2012)]

  • Cresswell, J., & Teucher, U. (2011). The body and language: M. M. Bakhtin: On ontogenetic development. New Ideas in Psychology.  [Impact Factor: 1.424 (2009)]

  • Mitchell, P., Teucher, U., & Kikuno, H. (2010). Cultural Variations in developing a sense of knowing your own mind: A comparison between British and Japanese children. IJBD  International Journal of Behavior and Development, 34:3. 248-258.  [Impact Factor: 1.416 (2009)]
  • Mitchell, P., Bennett, M., & Teucher, U. (2010). Do Children start out thinking they don't know their own Mind? An odyssey in overthrowing the mother of all knowledge”. EJDP European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 7:1. 67-84.  [Impact Factor: 1,081 (2009)].
  • Carr, T., Teucher, U., Mann, J., & Casson, A. G. (2009). Waiting for surgery from the patient perspective: A review of the literature. Psychology Research and Behaviour Manage-ment, 2. 107-119.
  • Mitchell, P., Teucher, U., Ziegler, F., Bennett, M, & Wyton, R. (2009). Do children start out thinking they don’t know their own minds? Mind and Language, 24:3, 328-346 (19). [Impact Factor: 2.091 (2009)]
  • Teucher, U., & Kemple, T. (Trans.; 2007). Simmel on the Metaphysics and Aesthetics of Life. Theory, Culture, & Society, 24:7-8. 30-90.  [Impact Factor; 1.015 (2009)]
  • Teucher, U. (2004). Humanities and Social Sciences in Health Research. In P. Magee (Ed.), A Canadian snapshot of fields of study and innovative approaches to understanding and addressing health issues.  Ottawa: Canadian Institutes for Health Research/Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
  • Teucher, U. (2003). The Therapeutic Psychopoetics of Cancer Metaphors: Challenges in Interdisciplinarity (pp. 1-15). In T. Seiler & B. Janz (Eds.), Free Space: Reconsidering Interdisciplinary Theory and Practice. History of Intellectual Culture, 3 (1).

 

Chapters in Books

  • Teucher, U., & D’Eon, Marcel (accepted 2 Dec 2012). “’What ails you?’ Reflections on Compassion.” In Keeping reflection fresh (Eds. A. Peterkin and P. Brett-MacLean). Kent State University Press.

  • Hammond, C., Teucher, U., & Hamoline, R. (accepted). Narrative coherence and disruption: negotiating between positive and existential psychology. In P. Russo-Netzer and A. Batthyany (Eds.), Meaning in Positive and Existential Psychology. New York, NY: Springer Verlag.

  • Teucher, U. (2010). Aboriginal Health Research and Epidemiology: Difference between Indigenous and Western Knowledge. In T. McIntosh, B. Jeffery, & N. Muhajarine (Eds.), Redistributing health: New directions in population health research in Canada. Regina: CPRC Press.
  • Mitchell, P., Bennett, M., & Teucher, U. (2010). Do Children start out thinking they don't know their own Mind? In Theory of Mind: Specialized Capacity or Emergent Property? Perspectives from Non-human and Human Development. New York: Psychology Press.
  • Teucher, U. (2007). Aestheticizing Cancer: Metaphors and Narratives of Revaluation. In S. Sielke (Ed.). Body as Interface. Heidelberg: Winter.
  • Teucher, U. (2007). The Incomprehensible Density of Being: Aestheticizing Cancer. In V. Raoul (Ed.), Refitting the Frame: Narratives of disease, disability and trauma. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Press.
  • Teucher, U. (2006). Renegade Cells: Patricia Blondal’s last Poem (pp. 305-310). In B. Sproxton (Ed.). The Winnipeg Connection: Writing Lives at Mid-Century. University of Winnipeg: Prairie Fire Press.
  • Grant, L. (Writer), & Teucher, U. (Co-writer/Producer/Director). (2006, June 14). Musqueam Elder Larry Grant, Canada [Video]. Series Indigenous Health. The Lancet.com. Retrieved  June 14, 2006, from http://www.thelancet.com/online/focus/indigenous_health/canada
  • Grant, L., Blake, S., & Teucher, U. (2004). Cultural identity and the Capilano tradition: Musqueam ancestral names (pp. 45-66). In J. C. Brown & Tyler Petersen (Eds.) UBCWPL Working Papers in Linguistics. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia.
  • Chandler, M., Lalonde, C., & Teucher, U. (2003). Culture, continuity, and the limits of narrativity: A comparison of the self-narratives of Native and Non-Native youth (pp. 245-265). In C. Lightfoot & C. Daiuth (Eds.), Narrative analysis: Studying the development of individuals in society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Teucher, U. (2001). Writing in the Face of Death: Norbert Elias and Autobiographies of Cancer (pp. 159-174). In T. Salumets (Ed.),Norbert Elias and human interdependencies. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

 

Book Reviews (selected)

  • U. Teucher (2011). Review of “M. Freeman, Hindsight”, Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 259 pages, 2008. British Journal of Psychology, 102:3.
  • U. Teucher (2011). Review of “S. Thorne, Interpretive Description”, Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 259 pages, 2008. British Journal of Psychology, 102:1.
  • Reimer, J., & Teucher, U. (2009).  Hunger [Review of the book Hunger, by Raymond Tallis]. BJP British Journal of Psychology, 100(2) 448-449.Teucher, U. (2009). Not an easy death [Review of the Book Swimming in a sea of death: A son’s memoir, by David Rieff]. BJP British Journal of Psychology, 100(2) 452-453.
  • Grant, L. and Teucher, U. (2005). Vancouver: A novel misconception [Review of the book Vancouver: A Novel, by David Cruise and Alison Griffiths]. BC Studies, 145, 114-116.
  • Teucher, U. (2003). Poetics of Science. [Review of the book The Hedgehog. The Fox, and the Magister’s Pox, by Stephen J. Gould],Science and Public Policy, 30:6, 465-466.
  • Teucher, U. (2003). Reading Genes, Heavens, and Computers: Metaphor in Science. [Review of the book Experimenting in Tongues: Studies in Science and Language, by M. Doerries (Ed.)], Science and Public Policy, 30:4, 297-298.
  • Teucher, U. (2003). Prosthetics of Order. [Review of the books Making the Body Beautiful, Narrative Prosthesis, and Bodily and Narrative Forms]. Canadian Literature, 178, 132-1333.

 

Recent Talks (selected; last 12 months only)

  • Teucher, U. & Sayok, A. Indigenous Knowledges of Food Plants: An ethnographic study of plant knowledges and practices among Malaysia’s First Nations. Faculty of Science seminar. UNIMAS. Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo): University of Malaysia Sarawak

  • Teucher, U. & Sayok, Plant foods and culture: Hermeneutic ethnobotany with Malaysia’s indigenous peoples. Paper accepted for ASFS Association for the Study of Food and Society. Michigan State University. 19 June 2013

  • Teucher, U. Chair, Symposium, Indigenous Food systems. Symposium panel at NAISA Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. Saskatoon, CA: University of Saskatchewan. 13 June 2013

  • Teucher, U. & Sayok, A. Indigenous knowledges of food plants: An ethnographic study of plant knowledges and practices among Malaysia’s First Nations. Symposium presentation presented at NAISA Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. Saskatoon, CA: University of Saskatchewan. 13 June 2013.

  • Teucher, U. & Sayok, A.  Preserving Food Security: Food transitions among Malaysia’s indigenous peoples. Paper presented at CAFS Canadian Association for Food Studies. Victoria, BC: University of Victoria. 1 June 2013

  • Teucher, U., Hammond, C., Reese, M., and Andersen, D. Hermeneutics, Crisis, and the Self: The limits of understanding narratives of cancer. Paper presented at ICQI International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry.  Urbana, Illinois. 15 May 2013

  • Teucher, U. Crisis, subject, and hermeneutics: Interpreting narratives of cancer. Symposium presentation presented at ISTP International Society for Theoretical Psychology. Santiago, Chile. 3-7 May 2013. Presented 3 May 2013.

  • Teucher, U. (2012, June). Change and continuity in Cancer narratives of Aging. Second Global Congress for Qualitative Health Research IIQM, June 26-30, 2012. Milan, Italy.

  • Holtslander, L., Dugglby, W., Teucher, U., Bally, j., Burles, M., & Solar, J. (2012, June). Explicating ‘Finding Balance’ within bereavement: Findings from a concept analysis of ‘balance.’ Paper presented at IQRC III, June 13 2012. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.