Professor Lumsden has experienced spirit possession in a Toronto church, travelled by dog sled in the Canadian Arctic, and experienced malaria in Ghana, West Africa. He has danced at numerous funerals in Ghana, and with Shamans in their healing rituals there; and has sung karaoke with Communist Party officials in the huge Chinese city of Chongqing.
As a Medical Anthropologist, he particularly is concerned with: mental health issues in cross-cultural perspective; Psychiatry as a profession, its nature, history, “travelling theory” and its impact in Canada, China and elsewhere; reliability and cultural validity of diagnostic classifications of mental disorders; stress and coping; refugee mental health issues in Canada, Sierra Leone and elsewhere; the experience and consequences of “exile”; collective trauma, repair, and “forgiveness”; child soldiers and their “rehabilitation”; public health in China and West Africa; dementias and eldercare issues; and disability studies.
In terms of International Development Studies, he particularly is concerned with the human, environmental, and human rights consequences of large dam and resettlement projects.
He is also interested in Social Theory, particularly that since World War II (e.g., Arendt and Heidegger, Foucault), and in Anthropology and Post-Colonial Theory.
He has carried out various periods of research in Canada, China, Ghana, Sierra Leone and the United State. He also has been active in community outreach: with a national committee of the Canadian Mental Health Association; as Vice-President of the Black Creek Community Health Centre serving our neighbouring Jane-Finch area; as a board member of the body regulating all of the profession of Psychology in Ontario; as an advisory committee member for the Confederation of Metro Toronto Chinese-Canadian Organizations; and as President (now past-President) of The Toronto-Chongqing (Sister City) Association.
Professor Lumsden is the author of various articles, a monograph on the health and policy implications of dam projects in “developing” countries, as well as editor of a book on Community Mental Health Action. For light relief, he plays a modest role assisting with a Chinese colleague's book series of Western poetry and art criticism - more "travelling theory"