Dr Robert J. Wallis

Dr. Robert J. Wallis’ ‘Historical Dictionary of Shamanism’ published in second edition

The Historical Dictionary of Shamanism, co-authored by Dr. Graham Harvey (Open University) and Richmond’s Dr. Robert J. Wallis has just been published in a revised and expanded second edition by Rowman and Littlefield Publishing. The second edition contains updates on the scholarship over the ten years since the first edition, hundreds of new entries, and an extensive annotated bibliography.

From the introduction:

“Shamanism, if there is an -ism, is too slippery and tricky a phenomenon to be held by only one group. Failure to slip across boundaries and be surprised by new perspectives and possibilities will lead to failure to understand even that which seems familiar. That, at least, is a justification for placing so many disparate matters alongside one another. Thus, entries about the Buryats, Celts, Evenk, San, and Sora stand alongside others about hallucinogen tourists, Heathens, techno-shamans, and “wannabe Indians.”

Similarly, there are entries about matters that seem to have been accepted as definitive of what shamans do and what shamanism is (e.g., “altered states of consciousness,” “trance,” “tiered cosmos,” “drumming,” and “journeying”), along with interventions that disrupt these and argue for new perspectives about, for example, “adjusted styles of communication,” “animism,” “becoming-animal,” “new-indigenes,” and “pragmatism.”

Finally, so that this dictionary can contribute to further lively debates about shamans, shamanism, and shamanisms, an annotated bibliography serves as a guide to further study. Whether approached enthusiastically or academically, there are many important matters to consider in relation to shamans. Equally, there are many important matters that might be better understood in relation to the activities and knowledge of shamans.”

The Historical Dictionary of Shamanism is now available from Rowman and Littlefield Publishing: www.rowman.com