HAR is pleased to announce the latest release from BEROSE International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology: an article in English about the U.S. anthropologist and Buddhist teacher Joan Halifax.
Le Menestrel, Sara, 2022. “Intersecting Cultural Anthropology, Religious Authority and Medicine: A Portrait of Joan Halifax,” in BEROSE – International Encyclopaedia of the Histories of Anthropology, Paris.
While Joan Halifax (1942-) is known as a major figure in Buddhism and a Zen roshi expert on end-of-life care and spirituality, her career as an anthropologist working alongside prominent academic figures of the discipline is less well-known. Her academic career began in the 1960s at Columbia University with Alan Lomax. Her stay at the Musée de l’Homme and her meeting with Roger Bastide and Jean Rouch sparked her interest in mental health and dying. She is one of the key figures in the popularization and institutionalization of shamanism in the West. The process of building her respectability as a religious expert is the result of multiple circulations – geographical (between the United States, Mexico, Europe, and Asia), disciplinary (between ethnomusicology, medical anthropology, shamanism, transpersonal psychology, palliative care, and Buddhism) and statutory, navigating between the academic institution and its margins. According to Le Menestrel in her challenging article, Joan Halifax’s itinerary epitomizes the intertwining of spiritual and academic authority, leading to the respectability of religious experts in the public sphere.
BEROSE: contributions / website /
Leave a Comment