Sean Akerman

CRC Research Associate

Sean Ackerman headshot
Office:Mead Hall 135
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Earned and Honorary Degrees

PhD Psychology, City University of New York
BA Psychology, Wheaton College


I was trained as a social and personality psychologist, and I have a particular interest in issues that lie at the intersection of qualitative research and social justice, including displacement, rural mental health, religious experience, and structural violence. Some of this work takes shape in a forthcoming book called Words & Wounds: Narratives of Exile (Oxford University Press, 2019), which draws upon fieldwork I conducted with Tibetan exiles in New York City.


At the Center for Rural Communities, I am involved in a number of projects in a research and evaluative capacity. Among these are: developing the first Accountable Community for Health in Wisconsin to reshape the mental health crisis response system; designing a jail reentry process for inmates transitioning back into the community; understanding the perspectives of people who use harm reduction services; as well as contributing to colleagues' projects on local food and climate change. Previously, I held faculty posts at Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College, and Bennington College.

Selected publications:

Akerman, S. (forthcoming). Words and wounds: Narratives of exile. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kemkes, R. J. and Akerman, S. (under review). Three intractable dilemmas of living amid climate change: Phenomenological interpretations from northern Wisconsin.

Kemkes, R. J. and Akerman, S. (2018). Questioning dominance in the Anthropocene to create healthy, sustainable futures. Encyclopedia of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Akerman, S. (2013). Walking with exiles: Movement and narration in life history research. SAGE Case Methodologies.

Akerman, S. and Ouellette, S. C. (2013). What Ricoeur’s hermeneutics reveal about self, identity, and aesthetic experience: Toni Morrison and Arthur Miller. Theory &Psychology, 22(4), 383-401.

Ouellette, S. C. and Akerman, S. (2007). Emotions and stone: Two ways of knowing. Psychologist-Psychoanalyst, 22(1), 54-57.