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Sorcery and Shamanism
Curanderos and Clients in Northern Peru
Donald Joralemon and Donald Sharon
The curanderos of northern Peru, traditional healing specialists who invoke Jesus Christ and the saints with a mescaline sacrament and a shamanic rattle, are not vestigial curiosities nor are their patients rural illiterates without access to "modern medicine." Instead, many of these shamans have thriving urban practices with clients from all levels of society.
Sorcery and Shamanism documents the lives and rituals of twelve curanderos, offering a perspective on their curing role and shared knowledge. Authors Donald Joralemon and Douglas Sharon also consider the therapeutic experiences of over one hundred patients, including case histories and follow-ups. They offer a broad view of the shamans’ work in modern Peruvian society, particularly in connection with gender-based conflicts.
The significant work goes a long way toward dispelling the stereotype of shamans as enigmatic and wise, showing them to be pragmatic curers confronting the health effects of everyday aggressions and betrayals.
Donald Joralemon is professor of anthropology at Smith College.
Douglas Sharon is director of the San Diego Museum of Man.
Table of Contents:
1. Eduardo Calderón
2. Víctor Neyra
3. Ruperto Navarro
4. Masias Guerrero
5. Porfirio Vidarte
6. Roberto Rojas
7. Rodrigo López
8. Helmer Aguilar
9. Víctor Flores
10. Nilo Plasencia
11. José Paz
12. Jorge Merino
13. Curanderismo: Occupational Considerations
14. The Metaphysics of Curanderismo
15. Curandero Clients and the Experience of Daño
16. Patients of Víctor Flores
17. Patients of Nilo Plasencia
18. Comparative Cases: Patients of Jorge Merino and Eduardo Calderón
19. Metaphors of Mistrust and Suspicion
20. The Work of Curanderos
Praise and Reviews:
“Remarkable ethnography. Collaborative research at its best. The text builds on multiple shifts in perspective, moving between shamans and their patients, cosmology and political economy, shamanism as belief system and shamanism as business. The result is one of the most comprehensive, richly nuanced studies in ethnomedical literature. This is an excellent text for teaching shamanism in medical anthropology courses. The clarity of writing and the authors’ skill in presenting sophisticated ideas in an engaging manner make it useful at both undergraduate and graduate levels. It offers a wealth of information for specialists interested in ethnomedicine, cosmology, and ritual.”
—Medical Anthropology Quarterly