Skip to main content

Brown Bag Seminar: James Dunk - Environ/mental: Planetary Mental Health and the Ecological Self

Welcome to a lunch seminar with researcher James Dunk. He will give you a presentation on planetary mental health and ecological self, followed by a conversation with the audience.

Time: Thu 2023-09-07 12.00 - 13.30

Location: Big seminar room, Teknikringen 74D (floor 5)

Language: English

Participating: James Dunk, Research Fellow, The University of Sydney, Australia

Export to calendar

If planetary health is a new transdisciplinary agenda to attend to the ‘health’ of the planet and its living systems in order to preserve human health and life – is planetary mental health a simple extension? This paper surveys the emerging programme (or programmes) of planetary mental health. What constitutes planetary mental health? How does the systems approach implicit in planetary health intersect with ecological theories in psychology and psychiatry? How might the psychological frames implicit in mental health fields complicate the assumptions bound up in planetary health? In particular, this paper will suggest that any planetary mental health programme demands a careful assessment of the shifting landscape of health, rather than illness only, in the Anthropocene. This includes emotional and social wellbeing approaches and the cluster of affective states known as eco-anxiety. Planetary mental health also demands a more thorough attention of the personal in the planetary health imaginary, bringing the history of deep ecology and ecopsychology to bear on planetary health literature dominated by public health and epidemiology, and looking to theories of ecological subjectivity and emotion advanced in the social sciences and environmental humanities.

Dr James Dunk is a research fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. Trained as a historian, with expertise in the history of mental health, his research and teaching explore how psychology and healthcare are being transformed in the face of ecological distress, together with technologies of self and society. He is a member of an interdisciplinary research group on ecological emotion at the Sydney Environment Institute and part of a community of practice exploring dialogical responses to climate distress.

Vegan sandwiches are served for everyone that register!

Do you want to join?

Register for the seminar, the talk and a vegan ciabatta! Send and email to

Deadline for ciabatta: September 1st

Belongs to: Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment
Last changed: Aug 25, 2023