#58 Tanya Luhrmann – Sensing God, Doing Magic & Kindling Anomalous Experience through Transformative Practice

Hør afsnittet

Tanya Luhrmann is Albert Ray Lang Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University, with a courtesy appointment in Psychology, and she is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society. Her work focuses on the edge of experience: on voices, visions, the world of the supernatural and the world of psychosis. She has conducted ethnographic work among groups such as evangelic Christians, American Santerians, Zoroastrians in India, magicians in England, and people hearing voices across cultural contexts. Apart from being the author of lots of academic articles and opinion pieces in the New York Times, her award-winning books include ‘Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft’, ‘Of Two Minds’, ‘When God talks Back’, and ‘How God Becomes Real’.

In this podcast we talk with Tanya about how people make God and Spirits real through various forms of practice and ideas. Tanya shares stories of world- and self-transformation from her fieldwork among magicians in England and evangelic Christians in the United States and unfolds some of the factors influencing such changes. We talk about the world-building effects of prayer, and how faith changes the person of faith. Finally, Tanya describes how cultural theories of mind also have an impact on the manifestation of anomalous, sensory experiences across contexts.

The episode is part of Regnfang’s series of co-publications of the Anthropology on Air podcast. A podcast created and published in collaboration with the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen. The podcast was recorded in early December 2023, when Tanya was in Bergen to be a panellist of the annual Holberg Debate.


Academic Profile: https://anthropology.stanford.edu/people/tanya-marie-luhrmann

Personal website: https://www.tanyaluhrmann.com

–       When God talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God (2012)

–       Of Two Minds: An anthropologist looks at American Psychiatry (2001)

–       Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft: Ritual Magic in Contemporary England (1989)

–       How God Becomes Real: Kindling the Presence of Invisible Others (2020)

–       Special issue: ‘Mind and Spirit: a Comparative Theory’ (2020)

–       Article mentioned: ‘Sensing the presence of gods and spirits across cultures and faiths’ (2021)

Host and production: Sidsel Marie

Music: Victor Lange