This book concentrates on female shamanisms in Asia and their relationship with the state and other religions, offering a perspective on gender and shamanism that has often been neglected in previous accounts.

An international range of contributors cover a broad geographical scope, ranging from Siberia to South Asia, and Iran to Japan. Several key themes are considered, including the role of bureaucratic established religions in integrating, challenging and fighting shamanic practices, the position of women within shamanic complexes, and perceptions of the body. Beginning with a chapter that places the shamaness at the centre of the discussion, chapters then approach these issues in a variety of ways, from historically informed accounts, to presenting the findings of extensive ethnographic research by the authors themselves.

Offering an important counterbalance to male dominated accounts of shamanism, this book will be of great interest to scholars of Indigenous Peoples across Religious Studies, Anthropology, Asian Studies, and Gender Studies.

section Section 1|100 pages

The conceptual debate

chapter 1|23 pages

The shamaness at the threshold

Gender, religions and the state in Asia

chapter 2|19 pages

The shamaness’ new clothes

On the qualities of resisting bodies

chapter 3|22 pages

Shamanesses high and low

Gender-based relationships to spiritual entities in Siberia

chapter 4|19 pages


What I got wrong in my first book

chapter 5|15 pages

Shamanism and gender (in)equality in South and South-East Asia

The Chepang of Nepal and the Semang-Negrito of Peninsular Malaysia

section Section 2|88 pages

Sociopolitical contexts

chapter 7|22 pages

From clanic shamaness to Burkhanist messenger

Transformations of religious roles of Altaian women (19th–21st centuries)

chapter 8|12 pages

“Let me take your pain away”

Female shamanism in a Central Asian soundscape

chapter 9|22 pages

Female shamanhood in Southern Siberia at the turn of the millennium

Revival of an ancient archetype, modernization or declining of “traditional” shamanism?

section Section 3|71 pages

Tensions and syncretism

chapter 10|17 pages

Women’s sociability

The qalandar khona of Khujand (Tajikistan) in the context of political events

chapter 11|17 pages

Shamanism and gender construction among the Kavalan of Taiwan

Men and women’s illness caused by different spirits

chapter 12|20 pages

Mirroring values in possession ritual

A biographic-narrative study of female participants in the zār ritual in the Hormozgān province of Iran

chapter 13|15 pages

Shamanism in Mongolia

Women, mother-earth and the world