Haunted by the Archaic Shaman

Haunted by the Archaic Shaman : Himalayan Jhakris and the Discourse on Shamanism

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Haunted by the Archaic Shaman critically engages the general discourse on shamanism by using ethnographic data gathered among different ethnic groups in the Nepal Himalayas to address several key conceptual issues and problems in the scholarly field of shamanic studies. Sidky not only tackles topics that appear beyond resolution to many, such as defining shamanism and delimiting its geographical scope, but also challenges on empirical and theoretical grounds several widely held ideas that have assumed the status of incontrovertible facts, such as the antiquity of shamanism and its place in the rise of human religiosity. This book makes a significant theoretical contribution to the field of shamanic studies and the anthropology of religion.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 270 pages
  • 160 x 232 x 22mm | 580.6g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, map
  • 0739126210
  • 9780739126219

About H. Sidky

H. Sidky is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Miami University.
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Review quote

Sidky combines his careful ethnographic study of shamanism as lived in Nepal with a comprehensive and critical review of the broad literature on shamanism. By doing so, he offers much needed order and clarity in this contested field of study. This is a major contribution both to anthropology and the history of religion. -- Erika Bourguignon, Ohio State University Sidky's book is a complete overview of Nepali, Siberian, and Tibetan shamanism as well as an in-depth study of the Nepali jhakri tradition. It overcomes the confusion created by Eliade's unsupported concepts and puts shamanic studies back on the track of empirical social science. It must be read by anyone seriously interested in shamanic healing. This is the best of ethnographic anthropology, because it is based on an intimate acquaintance with the shamans and their work. It captures the human reality of their profession and doesn't obscure it with mysticism or fanciful nonsense. It is full of real myth and real magical healing that is far more exciting to someone who wants to know the truth about shamanism. Its facts are more exciting than speculative reconstructions of nonsensical archaic modalities. Sidky examines an incredible range of scholarship on shamanism and is able to sift the wheat from the chaff. -- James W. Dow, Oakland University Haunted by the Archaic Shaman [is] an important, significant contribution to anthropology and comparative religions. Combining firsthand ethnography with in-depth scholarly discussion of shamanism... Sidky discusses in depth academic usages of 'shaman,' showing that the term is often used imprecisely and erroneously. The scholarship is impressively sound, with vivid firsthand descriptions of jhakris, thorough coverage of literature on shamanism; [and] solid analyses of the discourse on shamanism, cutting through fad usage, racist usage, and primitivism. [This book] will be a must-have for any scholars discussing shamanism. -- Alice Beck Kehoe, professor of anthropology emeritus, Marquette University Sidky's commitment to scientific, verifiable conclusions is, likewise, admirable... And though it does not resolve the knotty questions of how to define and practice ethnography, it offers an instructive example of how one very conscientious scholar has dealt with them. Journal of Folklore Research
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Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Chapter 1. From Siberia to Nepal: The Discourse on Shamanism Chapter 3 Chapter 2. Jhakris and Other Intercessors: The Problems of Defining Shamanism Chapter 4 Chapter 3. Myths, Narratives, and Ethnography: Clues for the Origins of the Jhakri Chapter 5 Chapter 4. Seized by Spirits: The Jhakri's Calling, Initiation, and Training Chapter 6 Chapter 5. Ornaments and Instruments of the Gods: The Jhakri's Ritual Outfit and Paraphernalia Chapter 7 Chapter 6. Altered States of Consciousness, Hallucinogenic Drugs, Spirit Possession, and Shamanism Chapter 8 Chapter 7. The Jhakri's Cosmos: The Nature of the Spirit World Chapter 9 Chapter 8. Implicated in Evil: The Shaman and the Witch Chapter 10 Chapter 9. Ban-Jhakri: Supernatural Abductions and Shamanic Initiation Chapter 11 Chapter 10. Jhakri Basnu: Shamanizing and Ritual Drama Chapter 12 Chapter 11. Shamanic Healing Chapter 13 Chapter 12. From Nepal to Siberia: Disentangling a Conceptual Morass
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