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Internationalizing the Teaching of Psychology

reviewed by Iva Katzarska-Miller - April 24, 2019

coverTitle: Internationalizing the Teaching of Psychology
Author(s): Grant J. Rich, Uwe Gielen, & Harold Takooshian (Eds.)
Publisher: Information Age Publishing, Charlotte
ISBN: 1641130059, Pages: 488, Year: 2017
Search for book at Amazon.com

In the true spirit of the internationalization of psychology, editors Grant Rich, Uwe Gilen, and Harold Takooshian have gathered 73 contributors from 21 countries in this timely volume, creating a handbook that can be used as the main resource for any psychology educator interested in internationalizing their courses. The book consists of 27 chapters, which are thematically organized in five parts.

Part One, “International Perspectives on the Teaching of Psychology,” encompasses six chapters, providing theoretical background, practical solutions, and materials related to the importance and implementation of international psychology. Chapter One discusses the importance of becoming involved in international psychology, the existing challenges to this involvement, and 12 suggestions for overcoming these challenges. Chapter Two proposes an upper-level, stand-alone course on international psychology, providing numerous instructional resources (e.g., readings, activities and assignments, technologies). While Chapter Three provides an overview of psychology as a discipline and the teaching of it in Latin America (mostly in Brazil and Mexico), Chapter Four examines the use of film in the psychology classroom. The movies revolve around the topic of medical education and ethics with an emphasis on both American and international movies. Although the combined list is impressive, the majority of the films are representative of WEIRD (Heinrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010) cultural spaces. Chapters Five and Six discuss the internationalization of psychology technology through a summary of meetings, conferences, societies, publications, and teaching resources available on the Internet, as well as Massive Online Open Courses.

Some of the early manifestations of the internationalization of psychology came through the research in cross-cultural, cultural, and indigenous psychologies. In Part Two, “Cross-Cultural, Cultural, and Indigenized Perspectives,” Chapter Seven discusses the teaching of cross-cultural and cultural perspectives with regard to various topics such as individualism and collectivism, immigration, language, and parenting, while Chapter Eight presents the challenges and solutions to cross-cultural research methods. Despite making great strides in terms of examining cultural differences, many indigenous psychologists critique cultural and cross-cultural psychology for its positionality in Western theoretical thought. Thus, Chapters Nine and Ten present two ways of internationalization that “move beyond any approach that assumes that internationalization simply means the increased exportation of psychology from the ‘West to the rest’” (p. 141). The first includes lessons from two Aotearoa/New Zealand Universities in grounding indigenization in partnerships and curriculum, problematizing oppressive structures such as racism and colonialism. Similarly, the second provides a framework for educational psychology training in South Africa through the processes of construction, reconstruction, and deconstruction positioned within the intentional lens of global citizenship.

Part Three, “Internationalizing Basic Domains of Psychology,” consists of nine chapters, each concentrating on internalization efforts in a specific core area of psychology. Starting with a chapter on “strategies for cultivating internationally-minded students within the bounds of an Introductory Psychology course” (p. 161), Chapter Eleven utilizes an etic/emic framework to incorporate cultural perspectives in topics such as perception, cognition, intelligence, emotion, psychotherapy, etc. One question that emerges when considering the suggestions is the difference between the proposed introductory course and a course in cultural psychology. Many of the examples are similar to research used in Heine’s Cultural Psychology textbook. Chapter Twelve provides a brief but fascinating overview of the current textbook trend of westernizing the history of psychology, and Chapter Thirteen explores internationalization in the teaching of biology and human behavior. While Chapter Fourteen provides examples of the cultural impact on perceptual processes such as perceptual illusions and color language, Chapter Sixteen presents suggestions for the introduction of international variables in learning courses. Chapter Fifteen discusses cognitive psychology from a Filipino perspective and Chapter Seventeen examines the experience of teaching motivation and emotion courses in Peru. Approaches to the teaching of intelligence, including cross-cultural, universalist, and blended approaches, is the main focus of Chapter Eighteen.

The last chapter in Part Three highlights ways in which the internationalization of the teaching of consciousness can be achieved in topics such as drugs and altered states of consciousness, hypnosis, sleep and dreams, and yoga and meditation. Although it appears that the majority of the chapters (Fourteen through Nineteen) concentrate on psychology areas that are associated with cognitive processing, excluding other areas of psychology such as developmental, social, and clinical, Part Four, “Psychology as a Sociocultural and Internationally Oriented Discipline,” concentrates on lifespan, personality, psychopathology, clinical and counseling, health, social, organizational, and psychology of women areas of psychology.

In comparison with the chapters in Part Three, there is an abundance of cross-cultural and cultural research that explores the psychology areas in Part Four. Each chapter presents books, articles, movies, online sources, etc., that encompass research across various cultural spaces. For example, Chapter Twenty discusses a global perspective on lifespan psychology, starting with research that contrasts Western and Eastern patterns of mothering and child-rearing, followed by international research across all stages of human development. Chapter Twenty-One offers suggestions and discusses the complexities associated with internalizing a personality psychology course. Chapters Twenty-Two through Twenty-Four explore the significant impact of culture on psychopathology, clinical and counseling, and health psychology, and on specific topics within each of the four areas. Topics range from culture-bound syndromes (Chapter Twenty-Two) to immigrants and refugees (Chapter Twenty-Three) and trauma and obesity (Chapter Twenty-Four). Similar to Chapter Twenty-One, Chapters Twenty-Five and Twenty-Six provide concrete pedagogical materials (content and process, examples and projects) for the internationalization of social and organizational psychology, respectively. The last chapter in Part Four highlights a feminist perspective on internationalizing the teaching of psychology of women utilizing comparative analyses.

Throughout the whole volume, in addition to the multiple resources provided, each chapter contains an annotated bibliography that helps the reader by providing not only a concise summary of the source but also what level of readership they are appropriate for (undergraduate, advanced undergraduate, and graduate level). Free web-based resources are also specifically marked down. Furthermore, some chapters encourage the reader to seek out research from other disciplines studying human processes, such as cultural anthropology and sociology.

The overall goal of providing a sourcebook for instructors “who wish to internationalize their course offerings and thereby help their students and themselves become more knowledgeable about a broad range of psychological questions, methodologies, theories, research findings, applications, and ethical quandaries related to the psychological make-up, behavior, and welfare of human beings everywhere” (p. xxxii) is achieved. The volume joins examinations of the internationalization of psychology such as Internationalizing the Psychology Curriculum in the United States (Leong, Pickren, Leach, & Marsella), offering additional theoretical frameworks and exploring new topics.


Heine, S. J. (2015). Cultural psychology (3rd Ed.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

Heinrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 61–83.

Leong, F., Pickren, W. E., Leach, M. M., & Marsella, A. J. (Eds.) (2012). Internationalizing the psychology curriculum in the United States. New York, NY: Springer.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: April 24, 2019
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22781, Date Accessed: 1/22/2022 3:55:11 AM

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About the Author
  • Iva Katzarska-Miller
    Transylvania University
    E-mail Author
    IVA KATZARSKA-MILLER is an associate professor of psychology at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. She teaches classes related to cultural psychology, social justice, and diversity. Her research interests focus on global citizenship, privilege and oppression, and interpersonal relationships. Recent publications include the book Psychology of Global Citizenship: Review of Theory and Research (with S. Reysen, 2018) and the papers "Inclusive Global Citizenship Education: Measuring Types of Global Citizens" in The Journal of Global Citizenship and Equity Education (with S. Reysen, 2018) and "Global Human Identification and Citizenship: A Review of Psychological Studies" in Advances in Political Psychology (with S. McFarland, J. Hackett, K. Hamer, A. Malsch, G. Reese, & S. Reysen, 2019). Some of her current projects include spontaneous usage of human identity, global citizenship and intergroup conflict, and intergroup perceptions of political attitudes.
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