Witches, heathens and shamans: Religious experience and gender identity among contemporary Pagans in the United States.

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2009-01-01
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Raabe, Holly
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Chrisy Moutsatsos
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Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology seeks to teach students what it means to be human by examining the four sub-disciplines of anthropology: cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and biological anthropology. This prepares students for work in academia, research, or with government agencies, development organizations, museums, or private businesses and corporations.

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The Department of Anthropology was formed in 1991 as a result of the division of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

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1991-present

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This research explores the relationships between religious experience and gender identity among contemporary Pagans in America. Personal experience, specifically spiritual experience, is fundamental in how Pagans described not only their spirituality but also their identities. In a social context where the mind is viewed as sacred and the body as profane, contemporary Pagans are challenging hegemonic beliefs. Through linguistic adaptation and linguistic appropriation, men and women in the Pagan community outline new identities for themselves. In the same way that Pagans understand their spirituality through bodily experience, gender and sexuality are also understood through personal experience. Because of the primacy of experience contemporary Pagans have created new frames for understanding, discussing and validating forms of gender and sexuality that are often framed as "alternative."

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Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2009