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Email: bdougan at


Office: 105C Caldwell

Pronouns: he/him/his

Research Interests: Anthropology of medicine, global health, and humanitarianism; post-colonial psychiatry; ethics of care; African urbanization; east Africa; Tanzania


2017 MA, Department of Anthropology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2014 MSPH, Department of International Health
Program in Social & Behavioral Interventions
The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
2011 BA (Cum Laude), Sociology
Franklin & Marshall College
Jan-May 2010 Development Studies – Study Abroad Program, Uganda
World Learning/School for International Training


Research Description:

My research focuses on mental health care and psychiatry in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in the context of global health and urban inequalities in postcolonial Africa. In 1959, the primary site of mental health care in Tanzania moved from the rural town of Dodoma to urban Dar es Salaam. Since the transition from socialism in 1992, Dar es Salaam has experienced an influx of internationally funded projects as international and local experts have engaged in different forms of development and health interventions. These projects, many now implemented in the name of “global health,” have altered the urban landscape, mobility, access to resources, and socialities. For the severely mentally ill in Tanzania, such projects have changed how patients and their caregivers access psychiatric care and the possibilities for treatment both inside and outside the clinical environment. My aim, then, is to understand (1) how global attention to mental health shapes the provision of care for those with severe mental disorders; and (2) how historical and emerging inequalities in Dar es Salaam shape the experiences of care as patients and caregivers try to access and provide psychiatric care.

Selected Awards:

In 2019, I was awarded at Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Award and an Off-Campus Dissertation Research Fellowship through the UNC Graduate School to conduct my research.

Previously, I received three Foreign Languages and Area Studies through UNC African Studies Center. During summer 2016, I studied Swahili at the African Foreign Languages Initiative at the University of Florida through a Summer FLAS Fellowship. During the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years, I received year-long FLAS Fellowships to study at the intermediate and advanced level.

Outside of school I enjoy drinking coffee in diners, listening to James Taylor and Whitney Houston, reading murder mysteries, and watching Golden Girls reruns.

Selected Publications:

2012    Dicklitch, Susan, Berwood Yost, and Bryan M. Dougan. “Building a Barometer of Gay Rights (BGR): A Case Study of Uganda and the Persecution of Homosexuals.” Human Rights Quarterly 34(2): 448-471.

Selected Book Reviews:

2015    Anthropology in the Making: Research in Health and Development. Laurent Vidal, New York: Routledge, 2014, 181 pp. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 29: b43–b45.

Selected Conference Presentations:

2018    “Symptom Checklists and Biolegitimacy in Global Mental Health” presented at American Ethnological Society/Society for Visual Anthropology Meeting, Philadelphia, PA (*co-chaired panel “Legitimizing a Less Exceptional Life in Global Public Health” with Chelsey Carter, Washington University at St Louis).

2017    “‘I realized it wasn’t Evidenced-Based’: On a Border between Global Health & Humanitarianism,” presented at Borders: On Boundaries, Barriers, and Transgression in Anthropology, Boulder, CO

2017    “‘Global Mental Health is not Big Pharma’: On the Use of Psychopharmaceuticals in Global Mental Health Research Trials,” presented at American Ethnological Society Meeting, Palo Alto, CA