Kardiner Award Lecture: Shamanism and Psychoanalysis

November 1, 2016
Michael Taussig, PhD

Once upon a time medical doctor in psychiatric institutions in England, anthropologist Michael Taussig, made annual visits to the southwest of Colombia to live with an indigenous shaman using hallucinogenic drugs from 1965 to 1997. His description of some of this appears in his book, Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man and also in an article, “Viscerality, Faith, and Skepticism: Another Theory of Magic,” which presents a quite alternative view of healing ritual to that put forward by Levi Strauss combining so-called structuralism with the early Freud. This talk shall explore the place of the secret and trickery in healing ritual, psychoanalytic or shamanic, as well as deconstructing the very word and notion of the shamanic.

Dr. Taussig is Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. He revolutionized the field through his radical and creative work in Latin America.  His books include Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror, The Nervous System, Mimesis and Alterity, and The Devil and Commodity Fetishism.