ANTH 603: Shamanism Past and Present (3)

This course explores shamanism, broadly defined as the practice of gaining insight through the use of ecstatic techniques (dance, drumming, trance, vision quests, and the use of psychotropic substances) for the purpose of interpreting existence and healing illnesses, through a consideration of theories and evidence for its practice from Upper Paleolithic times to the present day. Examples from the ancient cultures of Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, and the Americas are used to explore current theoretical approaches in order to identify shamans and shamanism in the past. Issues of identifying shamans and shamanism in art and archaeological contexts are discussed. The course also explores the role that shamanism plays in a wide variety of cultures. The principal goal of the course is to provide a reasoned, critical interpretation of shamanism in the context of contemporary debates about its definition and active practice. Prerequisite: ANTH 108/308 or ANTH 110/310 or ANTH 160/360. LEC
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