Anna Kemball

Thesis title: Unsettled Minds: Reframing and Narrating Mental Health and Wellbeing in Contemporary Indigenous Literatures


MA Postcolonial Literary & Cultural Studies, University of Leeds

BA English & Music (European), University of Leeds

Research summary

  • Indigenous literatures
  • Postcolonial literature
  • Medical humanities
  • Mental health

Current research interests

Seeking to bring the medical humanities and indigenous literary studies into closer relation, my thesis considers how indigenous representations of mental health bring about new configurations of normalcy, health and illness. I focus on a range of indigenous writers across Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, exploring how texts from the 1980s through to the present day might be read alongside the ongoing governmental commitment towards promoting indigenous mental health and improving health policy and practice. By using indigenous models of health as interpretative tools, my research will gesture towards new, culturally specific paradigms that might be considered within the critical medical humanities.

Affiliated research centres

Current project grants

SGSAH/ AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership

Past project grants

Journal of New Zealand Literature Essay Prize, 2018
Purvis Award (School of English, University of Leeds), 2014-15

Papers delivered

Biocolonial Pregnancies: Louise Erdrich's Future Home of the Living God, Biocolonialism: Pespectives from the Humanities, University of Leeds, 22-23 May 2019.

''We got to tell this story again': Storytelling, Psychiatry and the Medicine Wheel in Thomas King's Green Grass, Running Water', Postgraduate Medical Humanities, University of Exeter, 7-8 June 2018.

Kemball, Anna. "'Names That We Do Not Understand': Reframing Schizophrenia and Spirituality in The People-faces." JNZL: Journal of New Zealand Literature 36.1 (2018): 76-93.