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Phia Salter






A Focus on the Global South: Internationalization Committee Update

Phia Salter, Internationalization Committee Chair, Professor of Psychology, Davidson College   

SPSSI is deeply committed to supporting scholars, scientists, and activists who use theory and practice to address the critical problems that are plaguing our society. While many of the pressing social issues in our society are deemed “human issues” not bound by national borders, many social issues are exacerbated, complicated, and/or defined by these socially constructed divides. As such, there is a vital need for research that can illuminate these social issues in diverse international settings and contexts. As the chair of the internationalization committee, I am pleased to share that we have developed a new grant opportunity that focuses on social research based outside of the United States. In particular, this opportunity focuses on Researchers in the Global South (RGS).

International scholars make up about 14% of SPSSI’s membership and one of the primary aims of the internationalization committee has been to promote full integration of international members and their interests into SPSSI activities and programs. The committee has largely focused on internationalizing conference programming and attendance by providing travel awards, organizing international focused symposia and roundtables, facilitating broader access via live-stream webinars (even before COVID compelled it), and co-sponsoring lunches and networking activities with the Graduate Student Committee. In 2019, under the leadership of the previous Internationalization committee co-chair, SPSSI co-sponsored a colloquium in Cape Town, South Africa on decolonizing psychology. You can check out a featured session from this colloquium and other relevant webinars, conference sessions, and congressional briefings on SPSSI’s Internationalization YouTube Playlist.

The current internationalization committee is continuing much of that work and believe that targeted research support would also serve the needs and interests of our international members. We are heeding the many calls to expand psychological research beyond WEIRD contexts (i.e., Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and purportedly democratic societies; Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2020) by supporting social issues and justice-oriented psychological research in the Global South. As a committee, we see great value in research conducted in and about the Global South, but we especially want to highlight the need for social research from, for, and with the Global South (Savas, Dutt, & Salter, 2019). In administering this grant, we especially welcome researchers and proposals grounded in the Global South as a geopolitical region rather than a mere directional description (e.g., Dados, & Connell, 2012). For example, the Global South may include but is not limited to settings in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and eastern Europe; see also the RGS announcement). Proposals from researchers located outside of the Global South are also welcome if they are doing relevant work in concert with Global South scholars, activists, and/or communities (e.g., participatory action research).

By the time you read this issue of The Forward, the Fall submission deadline of October 1st may have passed. However, there’s still plenty of time to meet the annual deadline for the Spring, May 1st. We know incredible work is happening in these settings and we hope we’ll have the opportunity to highlight it with this grant award. You can read more about the RGS grant on SPSSI’s website, but I’m also happy to answer questions about this new opportunity.


Dados, N., & Connell, R. (2012). The global south. Contexts, 11(1), 12-13.

Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world? Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 61-135.

Savas, O., Dutt, A., & Salter, P. (2019, June). Doing Research, Policy, Activism in/for/from the Majority World. Doing Research, Policy, Activism in/for/from the Majority World. Interactive Discussion Session at the meeting of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, San Diego, CA.   

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