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Dark Shamans Neil L. Whitehead

Dark Shamans By Neil L. Whitehead

Dark Shamans by Neil L. Whitehead

Condition - Very Good
Out of stock


Uses an ethnographic example of ritual violence to illuminate cultural expression more widely and thereby reformulate anthropological and historical approaches to warfare and violence.

Dark Shamans Summary

Dark Shamans: Kanaima and the Poetics of Violent Death by Neil L. Whitehead

On the little-known and darker side of shamanism there exists an ancient form of sorcery called kanaima, a practice still observed among the Amerindians of the highlands of Guyana, Venezuela, and Brazil that involves the ritual stalking, mutilation, lingering death, and consumption of human victims. At once a memoir of cultural encounter and an ethnographic and historical investigation, this book offers a sustained, intimate look at kanaima, its practitioners, their victims, and the reasons they give for their actions.

Neil L. Whitehead tells of his own involvement with kanaima-including an attempt to kill him with poison-and relates the personal testimonies of kanaima shamans, their potential victims, and the victims' families. He then goes on to discuss the historical emergence of kanaima, describing how, in the face of successive modern colonizing forces-missionaries, rubber gatherers, miners, and development agencies-the practice has become an assertion of native autonomy. His analysis explores the ways in which kanaima mediates both national and international impacts on native peoples in the region and considers the significance of kanaima for current accounts of shamanism and religious belief and for theories of war and violence.

Kanaima appears here as part of the wider lexicon of rebellious terror and exotic horror-alongside the cannibal, vampire, and zombie-that haunts the western imagination. Dark Shamans broadens discussions of violence and of the representation of primitive savagery by recasting both in the light of current debates on modernity and globalization.

Dark Shamans Reviews

An exceptionally fine ethnography of the kanaima, Dark Shamans will fill a large gap. As an ethnography located in ethnohistory and processes of modernization, this book is an outstanding example of new anthropological work at the leading edge of the discipline.-Donald Pollock, State University of New York, Buffalo
Ethnographer Neil L. Whitehead enters this realm of reality and mythology, of storytelling and firsthand experience by accident, and his opening tale sustains the horror-filled storytelling power characteristic of such authors as Bram Stoker and Stephen King. As such, the kanaima, long known to explorers, poets, and ordinary people of northeastern South America, take their place in the history of modernity along with Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man.-Norman Whitten, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

About Neil L. Whitehead

Neil L. Whitehead is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author and editor of numerous books, most recently Beyond the Visible and the Material: The Amerindianization of Society in the Work of Peter Riviere (coedited with Laura Rival) and War in the Tribal Zone: Expanding States and Indigenous Warfare (coedited with R. B. Ferguson). He is the editor of the journal Ethnohistory.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
1. The Ethnographer's Tale 11
2. Tales of the Kanaima: Observers 41
3. Tales of the Kanaima: Participants 88
4. Shamanic Warfare 128
5. Modernity, Development, and Kanaima Violence 174
6. Ritual Violence and Magical Death in Amazonia 202
Conclusion: Anthropologies of Violence 245
Notes 253
Works Cited 285
Index 299

Additional information

Dark Shamans: Kanaima and the Poetics of Violent Death by Neil L. Whitehead
Used - Very Good
Duke University Press
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

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