1st Edition

The Shamaness in Asia Gender, Religion and the State

Edited By Davide Torri, Sophie Roche Copyright 2021
    282 Pages
    by Routledge

    282 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book concentrates on female shamanisms in Asia and their relationship with the state and other religions, offering a perspective on gender and shamanism that has often been neglected in previous accounts.

    An international range of contributors cover a broad geographical scope, ranging from Siberia to South Asia, and Iran to Japan. Several key themes are considered, including the role of bureaucratic established religions in integrating, challenging and fighting shamanic practices, the position of women within shamanic complexes, and perceptions of the body. Beginning with a chapter that places the shamaness at the centre of the discussion, chapters then approach these issues in a variety of ways, from historically informed accounts, to presenting the findings of extensive ethnographic research by the authors themselves.

    Offering an important counterbalance to male dominated accounts of shamanism, this book will be of great interest to scholars of Indigenous Peoples across Religious Studies, Anthropology, Asian Studies, and Gender Studies.

    1 The Shamaness at the threshold: gender, religions and the state in Asia

    Sophie Roche and Davide Torri

    2 The Shamaness’ New Clothes. On the Qualities of Resisting Bodies

    Davide Torri

    3 Shamanesses High and Low : Gender-based relationships to spiritual entities in Siberia

    Roberte Hamayon

    4 Retrospectives: What I got wrong in my first book

    Laurel Kendall

    5 Shamanism and Gender (In)equality in South and South-east Asia: The Chepang of Nepal and the Semang-Negrito of Peninsular Malaysia

    Diana Riboli

    6 Shamans, Islam and the State Medical Policy in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

    Danuta Penkala-Gawęcka

    7 From Clanic Shamaness to Burkhanist Messenger Transformations of Religious Roles of Altaian Women (19th-21st centuries)

    Clément Jacquemoud

    8 "Let me take your pain away": Female Shamanism in Central Asian soundscape

    Razia Sultanova

    9 Female Shamanhood in the Southern Siberia at the Turn of Millennium: A Revival of an Ancient Archetype, Modernization or Declining of "Traditional" Shamanism?

    Galina B. Sychenko

    10 Women’s sociability: The qalandar khona of Khujand (Tajikistan) in the context of political events

    Sophie Roche

    11 Shamanism and gender construction among the Kavalan of Taiwan: Men and women’s illness caused by different spirits

    Pi-chen Liu

    12 Mirroring Values in Possession Ritual: A Biographic-Narrative Study of Female Participants in the Zār Ritual in the Hormozgān Province of Iran

    Maryam Abbasi

    13 Shamanism in Mongolia: Women, Mother-Earth and the World

    Laetitia Merli


    Davide Torri is currently researcher at the Department of History, Anthropology, Religions, and Performing Arts at Sapienza University of Rome (Italy). In addition, he is associate member of the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (Germany) and of the Centre d’Etudes Himalayennes of the CNRS (France). He is also Secretary of the ISARS (International Society for the Academic Research on Shamanism). His main areas of research includes Himalayan religions, shamanism and indigenous minorities. Among his publications, we find Landscape, Ritual and Identity among the Hyolmo of Nepal (2020) and (as co-editor) Shamanism and Violence: Power, Repression and Suffering in Indigenous Religious Conflicts (2013).

    Sophie Roche is a research associate and lecturer at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. She is the author of The Faceless Terrorist: A Study of Critical Events in Tajikistan (2019).