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Mercredi 8 juin 2016, dans le cadre des séminaires de l’axe Religions et sociétés en Asie, Andrei Znamenski  (University of Memphis, Department of History), interviendra au sujet de :

From Asian Tradition to Postmodern Folklore: The Metaphor of Shamanism in Western Nature Spiritualities


Capitalizing on my previous research (The Beauty of the Primitive (2007) and Shamanism: Critical Concepts (2004), I explore how, since the 1960s, many Western seekers began to increasingly describe their spiritual practices as shamanism.

It is shown that by the 1990s the expression « shamanism, » which originated from indigenous Siberia and which was introduced into Western usage by the 18th-century German explores, came to partially or completely replace such definitions as « witch doctor, » « sorcerer, » « medicine woman, » « medicine man, » « magician, »  and the like. I treat these marginal semantic changes as a manifestation of broader cultural sentiments of European and American seekers who have been revising their « traditional » Eurocentric vocabulary and who havebeen simultaneously aspiring to « antiquate » and root their own identity in their European past.

It is explained why these people chose indigenous Siberian spiritual practitioners to serve as a handy cultural metaphor for their quests. I also examine the role of Mircea Eliade, who never was an expert on Siberian shamanism and shamanism in general, but who nevertheless became the major spearhead in mainstreaming this expression into Western print culture.

GSRL – Salle des conférences – site Pouchet


contact : c_gyss@hotmail.com, mdaeven@gmail.com