This book presents new directions in contemporary anthropological dream research, surveying recent theorizations of dreaming that are developing both in and outside of anthropology. It incorporates new findings in neuroscience and philosophy of mind while demonstrating that dreams emerge from and comment on sociohistorical and cultural contexts.
The chapters are written by prominent anthropologists working at the intersection of culture and consciousness who conduct ethnographic research in a variety of settings around the world, and reflect how dreaming is investigated by a range of informants in ever more diverse sites. As well as theorizing the dream in light of current anthropological and psychological research, the volume accounts for local dream theories and how they are situated within distinct cultural ontologies. It considers dreams as a resource for investigating and understanding cultural change; dreaming as a mode of thinking through, contesting, altering, consolidating, or escaping from identity; and the nature of dream mentation.
In proposing new theoretical approaches to dreaming, the editors situate the topic within the recent call for an "anthropology of the night" and illustrate how dreams offer insight into current debates within anthropology’s mainstream. This up-to-date book defines a twenty-first century approach to culture and the dream that will be relevant to scholars from anthropology as well as other disciplines such as religious studies, the neurosciences, and psychology.
Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction
1. Defining New Directions in the Anthropology of Dreaming
2. The Anthropology of Dreaming in Historical Perspective
Robin E. Sheriff
Part II: New Theoretical Approaches to Dreaming: Implications for Culture and Identity
3. Metaphors We Dream By: On the Nature of Dream Cognition
4. Identity and Memory in Germany: The Defensive Role of Dreams
Matthew D. Newsom
5. Dreaming Bloody Murder: Women’s Dreams of Mortal Threat, True Crime Culture, and Metonyms of Gendered Vulnerability
Robin E. Sheriff
6. Dream Sharing, Play, and Cultural Creativity
Part III: Dream Cultures: Theoretical and Ontological Perspectives
7. Out-of-Body on the Happy Hunting Road: Dialogues between Dreaming and Culture in Papua New Guinea
Roger Ivar Lohmann
8. Taking Dreams Seriously: An Ontological–Phenomenological Approach to Tzotzil Maya Dream Culture
Kevin P. Groark
9. Godly Dreams: Muslim Encounters with the Divine
10. Life is But a Dream: Culture and Science in the Study of Tibetan Dream Yoga and Lucid Dreamig
Bruce M. Knauft
Afterword: On the Varieties and Particularities of Dreaming
Jeannette Mageo is a professor of anthropology at Washington State University, USA.
Robin E. Sheriff is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of New Hampshire, USA.