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Lecture 15

ANTHROP 2R03 Lecture 15: Lecture 15 - Burning Man (Feb 12)

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Ellen Badone

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Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft
February 12, 2018
Burning Man
Midterm Review
How anthropologists approach religion: Eller, Moro, Wagner + “Friends of God”
Myth, Symbolism: Narayan and Sood, Wolf, Daugherty
Worldview and ethos: Geertz
Ritual: Turner, Mason, “The King Does Not Lie,” Kapchan
Religious specialists shamans, priests, prophets, charismatic leaders: Vitebsky, Sora
video, Mullins
Altered states of consciousness relates to shamanism, healing: Greenfield, Harner,
Hutson, “John of God”
Types of religious healing: Foster, De La Portilla, Fadiman, “The Split Horn,” Kenyon,
zar, Gilmore
Burning Man
Alternative ritual in our own society
Takes place in Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Week leading up to Labor Day
Temporary city in desert set up around 40’ high effigy – wooden Man burned at end of
50,000 people attend annually need to bring everything necessary for survival
Ephemeral art installations, sculptures
Anti-corporate mentality
nothing sold during event except coffee and ice to benefit local Nevada towns
An unconventional pilgrimage: ritualized journey to a specific, culturally important
geographic location, intended to connect participants to something beyond their ordinary
existence, has transformative, healing or transcendent character according to participants
Victor Turner extended ideas about rites of passage, liminality and communitas to
Journey to sacred site involves separation from ordinary world, liminality in journey
betwixt and between” followed by re-entry into normal society aggregation or
These steps happen in trip to Burning Man
Healing as personal growth
Also social healing
Leave no trace clean up camps and event site before leaving environmentalist attitude
No Spectators
Self-reliance but not isolation sharing
Creates community perceived as healing
Community continues after Burning Man
Idea that Burning Man can point the way to social and cultural transformation
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