China Mills

Dr China Mills PhD, BSc (Hons)

Lecturer in Critical Educational Psychology
Tel: +44 (0) 114 222 8176

Research Interests
China explores the psycho-political effects of the globalisation of the psy-disciplines, the medications and mentalities they elicit, and how they shape our very understandings of ourselves and of the social conditions in which our lives are embedded. She is interested in exploring how the psy-disciplines and psychotropic drugs function in local and global contexts of entrenched inequality, chronic poverty, (neo)colonial oppression, and increasingly under the politics of austerity. China published the book ‘Decolonizing Global Mental Health: the Psychiatrization of the Majority World’ (Routledge), which draws on research with NGOs and user-survivor organisations in India, and analyses global mental health policies as forms of colonial discourse. She has since published work on the mental health-poverty nexus, mental health and international development, and on poverty, stigma and social isolation. Previously China worked with the Hearing Voices Network in the UK, and has grown up alongside family members who hear voices, and who have a Schizophrenia diagnosis.



China is director of the MA Psychology and Education. China teaches on the BA Education, Culture and Childhood, and leads the first year Child Psychology module. She also teaches on the MA in Education; on the MSc Psychology and Education; and on the EdD programme. She supervises a diverse range of PhD students.

China's teaching philosophy is rooted in the respect of student diversity and the co-creation of knowledge within the learning environment. She has supported a diverse range of students, many of whom have English as an additional language, experience mental health issues, and/or have additional needs.
China enjoys supporting her students to write for publication, and has co-authored a journal paper (currently under review) with a previous MA Psychology and Education student (Beth Barker). The paper is titled: 'The psy goes to school: ADHD and psychologisation in a UK primary school'. She is also co-authoring a book chapter on global mental health with one of her PhD students - Lindsay Miller.

In 2015 China was nominated by Student Voice for an Academic Award for ‘Best feedback'.

Other experience

From a young age, China has been an ally of the psychiatric user/survivor movement, and carried out research with the Hearing Voices Network, with young people who hear voices, some of whom had a schizophrenia diagnosis. China used to work on the helpline for the Hearing Voices Network in Manchester, and has facilitated a number of workshops on the approach of the Network in India. Previously, China worked as a research officer at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at the University of Oxford, looking at the intersections between social isolation, stigma and poverty.



China is Principal Investigator on two research projects funded by the British Academy (with co-researchers, Dr Eva Hilberg and Dr Elise Klein).

1. Psy-technologies as global assemblage: histories and social lives of quantification and digitisation in three former countries of the British Empire (IC2\100163) (Feb 2018-March 2019). This research explores the historical conditions of possibility for specific psy-technologies in three countries of the former British Empire. It looks at how psy-technologies are embedded in wider global assemblages (national infrastructures, inter/national actors and norms, and funding architectures). We look at the ways psy-technologies act as dimensions of global coloniality, exploring the visibilities that postcolonial analysis brings to the technological mediation of global/local relations.

2. Changing behavior through technology: therapeutic culture and the digital revolution (IC160362) (March 2017-Feb 2018). This project analyses the social life and cultural biographies (production, use, appropriation and resistance) of digital technologies for behaviour change through three case studies in India, South Africa and Australia. A key element of this study explores the ways that mental health is made to 'count' globally through the intersections of technology and quantification.

Other research: China also carries out research into the psycho-and necro-politics of suicides linked to welfare reform in the UK and suicides linked to agricultural reform and agribusiness in India, see here

China is working with Dr Chris Winter on a psychopolitical analysis of British Values curriculum policy in English schools, and the psy-security-curriculum ensemble.

China's research has been featured in the Indian Express, Discover Society, the Conversation, and on a number of blogs, including the Weeks Centre for Social Policy, Mad in America, and the Critical Race and Ethnicities Network.



China is co-editor of the Routledge book series ‘Therapeutic Cultures’, was section editor for the Springer Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology, and is an editorial advisor the Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane book series. 

She is a member of the editorial collective of the journal Critical Social Policy, and the editorial Boards for the journals Disability and the Global South: An International Journal, and the Annual Review of Critical Psychology (ARCP). She is a member of the editorial collective for Asylum: a magazine for democratic psychiatry. She is an Associate Fellow of The Critical Institute and a visiting researcher at the research centre Agora - for the study of social justice and equality in education, University of Helsinki  (affiliated to the Nordic Centre of Excellence, Finland). China is a member of the Sheffield Centre for Critical Psychology and Education, and a fellow of the Sheffield Institute for International Development.
China regularly gets invited to speak at diverse events and conferences internationally, and has also organized many events at the University of Sheffield, including conferences on global mental health and therapeutic assemblages; intersections of colonialism, madness and ableism; therapeutic cultures and international development; and technology, metrics and the psy-complex. 



Click here for Journal Articles

Book Chapters

Mills, C. (2017). Psychopharmaceuticals as ‘essential medicines’: local negotiations of global access to psychotherapeutic medicines in India. In Davies, J. (Ed). The Sedated Society: The Causes and Harms of our Psychiatric Drug Epidemic. London and New York: Springer. pp. 227-248.

Mills, C. (2017). Global Psychiatrization and Psychic Colonization: The Coloniality of Global Mental Health. In Morrow, M. and Halinka Malcoe, L. (Eds.) Critical Inquiries for Social Justice in Mental Health. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 87-109.

Mills, C. and White, R. (2017). Efforts to Scale-up Mental Health Services in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). In White, R., Read, U., Jain, S. and Orr, D. (Eds.). The Palgrave Handbook of Global Mental Health: Socio-cultural Perspectives. Palgrave. pp. 187-210.

Mills, C. (in press). The mad are like savages and the savages are mad: psychopolitics and the coloniality of the psy. In Cohen, B. (Eds). Routledge Handbook of Critical Mental Health. London and New York: Routledge.

Mills, C. (2016). Mental Health and the Global Mindset of Development. In Grugel, J. and Hammett, D. (Eds). The Palgrave Handbook of International Development.

Mills, C. and White, R. (2016). Efforts to Scale-up Mental Health Services in LMIC. In White, R., Read, U., Jain, S. and Orr, D. (Eds.). The Palgrave Handbook of Global Mental Health: Socio-cultural Perspectives. Palgrave.

Mills, C. and Davar, B. (2016). A local critique of Global Mental Health. In Grech, S. and Soldatic, K. (eds.). Disability and the Global South: The Critical Handbook. Springer.

Mills, C (2016). Educational Psychology in (times of) Crisis: Psychopolitics and the Governance of Poverty. In Gough, B (Ed.). Handbook of Critical Social Psychology. Palgrave MacMillan.

Mills, C. (2016). Epidemic or Psychiatrization? Children’s mental health in a global context. In Billington, T., Goodley, D., Williams, A. and Corcoran, T. (Eds.) Critical Educational Psychology. Palgrave.

Mills, C. (2015). Personality: Technology, Commodity and Pathology. In I. Parker (ed.). Handbook of Critical Psychology. Routledge.

Mills, C. (2015). Assuming Impairment and Erasing Complexity: The Global Politics of Disablement. In Sapey, B., Anderson, J. and Spandler, H. (eds). Madness and the Politics of Disablement. London: Policy Press.

Mills, C. (2014). Sly Normality: Between Quiescence and Revolt, in Burstow, B., Diamond, S. and LeFrancois, B. (Eds) Psychiatry Disrupted: Theorizing Resistance and Crafting the (R)evolution. McGill University Press.

Mills, C. and Zavaleta, D. (2014). Shame, Humiliation and Isolation: Missing Dimensions of Poverty Analysis and Suffering. In Anderson, R. (Ed.) World Suffering and the Quality of Life. Springer.

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