Radical Transformations

Thursday, November 19, 2015: 4:00 PM-5:45 PM

Mineral Hall B (Hyatt Regency)

As cultural and psychological anthropologists have long asserted, cultural practices interact dynamically with human consciousness. Both material and non-material culture have the ability to radically transform the way we perceive the world. This panel will explore the various ways in which culture in the form of symbolic objects, ritualistic behavior, ethnographic film, psychotropic agents, and belief structures can dramatically transform levels of awareness among diverse populations. Bilinsky’s original ethnographic research in New Orleans details the role of material culture in the Voodoo Spiritual Temple, including the ways in which it can function to facilitate practitioners’ communication with spirits. Adkins attempts to understand the phenomena of self-harm in the shamanic performances of the Chukchi people of Northeastern Siberia described in early 20th century ethnographies by examining the various forms of time-consciousness with which it is connected. Carrigan explores the value and potential of combining ethnography and visual anthropology as a form of action research aimed at facilitating cultural interventions. Agin-Liebes describes the profound consciousness-shifting experiences of patients with cancer and clinical anxiety who were administered psilocybin, a serotonergic psychoactive agent. Finally, Klin-Oron describes how spirit mediums come to understand raw encounters with non-material entities through pre-existing systems of meaning learned from friends and literature. Ultimately, this panel addresses the need for more nuanced consideration of the ways culture and consciousness interact.

This session would be of particular interest to:
Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students

Organizers:  Mark W Flanagan (University of Georgia)

Chairs:  Stephanie Bilinsky (Arizona State Univ) and Adam Klin-Oron (The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute)

4:00 PM
Material Culture at New Orleans’ Voodoo Spiritual Temple 
Stephanie Bilinsky (Arizona State Univ)

4:15 PM
Utmost Wonder: The Experience and Temporality of Chukchi Shamanic Self-Harm Tyler Adkins (Princeton University, Department of Anthropology)

4:30 PM
Ethnographic Film Case Studies: Towards an Anthropology of Liberation Coleen M Carrigan (California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo)

4:45 PM
Psilocybin-Administration As a Treatment for Anxiety in Cancer Patients: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis 
Gabrielle Agin-Liebes (NYU School of Medicine)

5:00 PM
From “Wild” to “Cultivated” Visions: Self-Socialization Among New Age Channels Adam Klin-Oron (The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute)

5:15 PM