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Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
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Dena T. Smith (PhD Sociology, Rutgers 2011) is Assistant Professor of Sociology in the department of Sociology and Anthropology at University of Maryland (UMBC) in Baltimore, Maryland. Dena’s interests are in the sociology of mental health and illness (particularly gender and mental health), the sociology of psychiatry, and cognitive sociology. She has researched disparities in mental health care, but her primary focus is on the social history of the mental health professions – particularly 20th Century American Psychiatric constructions of illness and suffering. Her dissertation, titled “Meaning-making in a Medical World: The Art of Talk Therapy, the Science of the Biological Model and the Boundaries in Between,” focuses on these issues from the perspective of mental health practitioners. Dena's work pertains to the role for sociologists in offering alternative models to the psychiatric conceptualization of mental suffering. Dena's courses include, among others: Sociology of Mental Illness; Sociology of Health and Illness; Sociology of Gender, Work, and Family; Social Psychology; and Social Research Methods. Dena was a founding editor of the Rutgers Journal of Sociology: Emerging Areas in Sociological Inquiry, which released its first volume in 2011. Her most recent article, “The Diminished Resistance to Medicalization in Psychiatry: Psychoanalysis Meets the Medical Model” was published in Society and Mental Health.