AG Medical Anthropology


Anthropology of Ritual Healing

Sommersemester 2006

Prof. William Sax, Ph.D (
Abteilung Ethnologie, Südasieninstitut, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

This lecture course is divided into two sections. In the first section, several prominent approaches to the anthropology of ritual healing (Levi-Strauss, Ioan Lewis, Thomas Csordas and others) will be reviewed. Lectures in the second section will be based on Professor Sax’s current research on ritual healing in the Central Himalayas of Northern India. Lectures will be in English.

• Ritual
• Sorcery
• Ethnological Fieldwork
• Medical Anthropology
• Social Justice
• Folklore



  • Connor, L.H., Geofrey, S. (Hrsg.) 2001. Healing Powers and Modernity: Traditional Medicine, Shamanism, and Science in Asian Societies. Westport et al.: Bergin & Garvey.
  • Csordas, T.J. 1994. The Sacred Self: A Cultural Phenomenology of Charismatic Healing. Berkeley: Univeristy of California Press.
  • Kakar, S. 1982. Shamans, Mystics and Doctors. Delhi: OUP.
  • Kapferer, B. A. 1983. Celebration of Demons: Exorcism and the Aesthetics of Healing in Sri Lanka. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Lévi-Strauss, C. 1963. The Effectiveness of Symbols. In C. Lévi-Strauss. Strutural Anthropology. New York et al.: Basic Books. S. 186 – 205.
  • Lewis, I. M. (1971) 1989. Ecstatic Religion: a Study of Shamanism and Spirit Possession. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Sax, W. S. 2000. Residence and Ritual in the Garhwal Himalayas. In M.P. Joshi, A.C. Fanger and C.W. Brown (Hrsg.) Himalaya: Past and Present, Volume IV. Almora, India: Shree Almora Book Depot. S. 79-114.
  • Sax, W. S. 2004. Healing Rituals: a Critical Performative Approach. Anthropology and Medicine 11 (3): 293-306.
  • Sax, W. S. 2004. Heilrituale der Dalits im indischen Zentral-Himalaya. In D.Harth und G. J. Schenk (Hrsg.) 2004. Ritualdynamik: Kulturüber-greifende Studien zur Theorie und Geschichte rituellen Handelns. Heidelberg: Synchron, S. 363-380.
  • Turner, V. W. 1968. The Drums of Affliction: A Study of Religious Processes among the Ndembu of Zambia. Cornell and London: Cornell University Press.