Picture of James B. Waldram

James B. Waldram BA [Hons] University of Waterloo 1978; MA University of Manitoba 1980; PhD University of Connecticut 1983

Distinguished Professor

Faculty Member in Anthropology
Graduate Supervisor in Anthropology

Archaeology 206

Research Area(s)

  • Anthropology of healing and Indigenous medicine
  • Anthropology of disaster and dislocation
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Culture and mental health
  • Ethnographic film
  • Prison ethnography
  • Maya peoples
  • Belize

About me

Courses Taught and In Development 

  • PSY 224: Culture and Psychology
  • PSY 380: Psychology, Culture and the Therapeutic Process
  • PSY 480: Aboriginal Mental Health
  • PSY 801: Culture and Mental Health
  • ANTH 111: One World, Many Peoples
  • ANTH 305: The Practice of Ethnography
  • ANTH 403: Anthropology of Healing
  • ANTH 498: Culture, Mind and Experience
  • ANTH 405: Anthropology of Disaster and Dislocation
  • ANTH 802: Community-Based Research: Ethnography and Engagement

Student Employment or Research Opportunities

From time to time I require students to assist in data management and analysis.


Selected Publications

Books and Monographs

Waldram, James B. 2020. An Imperative to Cure: Principles and Practice of Q'eqchi' Maya Medicine in Belize. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Waldram, James B. 2012. Hound Pound Narrative: Sexual Offender Habilitation and the Anthropology of Therapeutic Intervention. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Waldram JB. (editor). 2008. Aboriginal healing in Canada:Studies in therapeutic meaning and practice.  Ottawa: Aboriginal Healing Foundation.

Waldram JB, Herring DA, Young TK. 2006. Aboriginal health inCanada: Historical, cultural and epidemiological perspectives. 2nd Ed. Toronto:University of Toronto  Press.

Waldram JB. 2004.Revenge of the Windigo: The construction of the mind and mental health of North American Aboriginal peoples Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Anthropological Horizons.

Laliberte R, Settee P, Waldram JB, Macdougall B, McBain L, Innes R, Barron, FL. (editors). 2000. Expressions in Canadian Native Studies. Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan Press.

Waldram JB. 1997. The way of the pipe: Aboriginal spirituality and symbolic healing in Canadian prisons. Peterborough: Broadview Press.

Chapters in Books

Victor, Janice, and James B. Waldram (2015). Moral habilitation and the new normal: Sexual offender narratives of posttreatment community integration. In Lois Presser and Sveinung   Sandberg, Eds. Narrative Criminology. Pp. 96-121. New York: New York University (NYU) Press.

Waldram, James B. 2015. Writing bad: Prison ethnography and the problem of “tone.” In The Palgrave handbook of prison ethnography. Deborah Drake, Rod Earle, Jennifer Sloan (eds). Pp. 214-229. London: Palgrave.

Waldram, JB. 2008. Aboriginal Health and Health Care in Canada. Handbook of North American Indians: Contemporary Issues. Pp. 222-230. Washington: Smithsonian Institute.

Waldram JB. 2008. Models and metaphors of healing. In: Aboriginal healing in Canada: Studies in Therapeutic Meaning and Practice. James B. Waldram (ed). Pp. 1-8. Ottawa: Aboriginal Healing Foundation.

Waldram JB., Innes R, Kaweski M, Redman C. (n.d). Building a nation: Aboriginal healing in urban context. In: Aboriginal healing in Canada: Studies in Therapeutic Meaning and Practice. James B. Waldram (ed). Pp. 205-268. Ottawa: Aboriginal Healing Foundation. In Press.

Waldram JB. 2008. Culture and Aboriginality in the Study of Mental Health. In: L. Kirmayer and G. Valaskakis (Eds). Pp. 56-79. The Mental Health of Canadian Aboriginal Peoples: Transformations of Identity and Community. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Waldram JB, Downe P. 2006. Ex-patriots in the Ivory Tower: The Experiences of Academic Anthropologists in non-Anthropology Departments. In: Historicizing Canadian Anthropology. J. Harrison and R. Darnell (Eds). Pp. 183-195. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Articles in Refereed Journals

Hatala, Andrew R., and James B. Waldram. (2017) Diagnostic Emplotment in Q’eqchi’ Maya Medicine. Medical Anthropology 36(3):273-286.

Scharbach, Julia, and James B. Waldram. (2016). Asking for a Disaster: Being “At Risk” in the Emergency Evacuation of a Northern Canadian Aboriginal Community. Human Organization 75(1): 59-70.

Hatala, Andrew R., and James B. Waldram (2015). The Role of Sensorial Processes in Q’eqchi’ Maya Healing: A Case Study of Depression and Bereavement. Transcultural Psychiatry 53(1): 60-80.

Hatala, Andrew R., and James B. Waldram (2015). Narrative structures of Maya mental disorders. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry [In Press]

Waldram, James B.  (2015). “I Don’t Know the Words He Uses”: Therapeutic Communication among Q’eqchi Maya Healers and Their Patients. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 29(3):279-297.

Waldram, James B., and Andrew R. Hatala ( 2015). Latent and manifest empiricism in Q’eqchi’ Maya healing: A case study of HIV/AIDS. Social Science and Medicine 126:9-16.

Waldram, James B. (2013). Transformative and restorative processes: Revisiting the efficacy of Indigenous healing. Medical Anthropology 32(3): 191-207.

Waldram, James B. (2012). Healing history? Aboriginal healing, historical trauma, and personal responsibility. Transcultural Psychiatry 51(3): 370-386.

 Waldram, J.B.  2010. Moral agency, cognitive distortion, and narrative strategy in the rehabilitation of sexual offenders. Ethos 38(3): 251-274.

Selection of Publications (by Year)


    Aboriginal Health Cross-Cultural Physical & Mental Health Indigenous aboriginal central america cultural psychology culture disaster ethnography healing medical anthropology mental health psychological anthropology risk

    I am an applied anthropologist first and foremost. My research falls within the areas of medical, psychological and psychiatric anthropology, and environmental anthropology. I am primarily interested in issues of culture and health.  I have undertaken fieldwork in more than a dozen Aboriginal communities in Canada, in medical clinics, and in prisons.  My current projects include field research among a group of Q’eqchi (Maya) healers in southern Belize, and an exploration of the psychological and sociocultural implicatons of disasters and community evacuation in northern Canada.

    Education & Training

    B.A. (Hons) Anthropology, University of Waterloo (1978)

    M.A. Anthropology, University of Manitoba, (1980)

    PhD Medical Anthropology, University of Connecticut (1983)

    Awards & Honours

    • Fellow, awarded by Canadian Anthropology Society June 2020
    • Impact Award, awarded by SSHRC May 2017
    • Fellow, awarded by Royal Society of Canada November 2014
    • Distinguished Researcher, awarded by University of Saskatchewan July 2013