Slippage: An Anthropology of Shamanism

Bruce Grant

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    If our knowledge of shamanism has been so abidingly partial, so impressively uneven, so deeply varied by history, and so enduringly skeptical for so long, how has its study come to occupy such pride of place in the anthropological canon? One answer comes in a history of social relations where shamans both are cast as translators of the unseen and are themselves sites of anxiety in a very real world, one of encounters across lines of gender, class, and colonial incursions often defined by race. This article contends that as anthropologists have cultivated a long and growing library of shamanic practice, many appear to have found, in a globally diverse range of spirit practitioners, translators across social worlds who are not unlike themselves, suggesting that in the shaman we find a remarkable history of anthropology.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)9-22
    Number of pages14
    JournalAnnual review of anthropology
    StatePublished - 2021


    • history
    • ontology
    • shamanism
    • shamanship
    • translation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cultural Studies
    • Anthropology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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