Luhrmann, Tanya Marie

Ph.D. Cambridge, 1986


Tanya Marie Luhrmann is the Watkins University Professor in the Stanford Anthropology Department. Her books include Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft, (Harvard, 1989); The Good Parsi (Harvard 1996); Of Two Minds (Knopf 2000) and When God Talks Back (Knopf 2012). In general, her work focuses on the way that ideas held in the mind come to seem externally real to people, and the way that ideas about the mind affect mental experience. One of her recent project compares the experience of hearing distressing voices in India and in the United States.

Selected Publications: 


1989: Persuasions of the Witch's Craft: ritual magic in modem culture. Harvard University Press (and Basil Blackwell).

1996: The Good Parsi: the postcolonial anxieties of an Indian colonial elite . Harvard University Press.

2000: Of two minds: the growing disorder in American psychiatry. Alfred A. Knopf; paperback edition 2001, new subtitle: Of two minds: an anthropologist looks at American psychiatry. Vintage.

2012: When God talks back: understanding the American evangelical relationship with God. Knopf.

In preparation: Case studies in culture and schizophrenia (edited with Jocelyn Marrow).

In preparation: Other minds: essays on the way mind understanding affects mental experience.. [The Lewis Henry Morgan lectures].

In preparation: Uptown: living on the street with psychosis.



2004: ‘Metakinesis: how God becomes intimate in contemporary US Christianity.’ American Anthropologist. 106(3): 518-528. [reprinted in Clare Boulanger, ed. Reflecting on America, in press; also in Jane Adams, ed. America's Diverse Cultures]

2005: ‘The art of hearing God: absorption, dissociation and contemporary American spirituality.’ Spiritus: a Journal of Christian Spirituality 5(2): 133-157. [pre-printed as the John Nuveen lecture ‘Trauma, trance and God: how the new style in American religion might be changing the psychiatric symptoms of trauma.’ Criterion Spring 2004: 2-12.]

2006: ‘Subjectivity’. Anthropological Theory 6(3): 345-361 (September).

2007: ‘Social Defeat Social defeat and the culture of chronicity: or, why schizophrenia does so well over there and so badly here.’ Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. June. 31: 135-172.

2008: ‘The street will drive you crazy:’ why homeless psychotic women in the institutional circuit in the United States often say no to offers of help. American Journal of Psychiatry 15: 15-20; pre-printed (a mark of importance) American Journal of Psychiatry in Advance December 17 2007 p 1-6.

2010: ‘The Absorption hypothesis: hearing God in evangelical Christianity.’ With Howard Nusbaum and Ronald Thisted. American Anthropologist. March. 112(1): 6-78.

2010. ‘Down and Out in Chicago.’ Raritan, Winter 2010 pp 140-166.

2011: ‘Hallucinations and sensory overrides.’ Annual Review of Anthropology. Vol. 40:71-85.

2012: Julia Cassaniti and T.M. Luhrmann, ‘Encountering the supernatural: A phenomenological account of mind.’ Religion and Society. 2: 37-53.

2012: Jocelyn Marrow and T.M. Luhrmann, ‘The Zone of Social Abandonment in Cultural Geography: On the Street in the United States, inside the Family in India.’ Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry. 36: 493-513.

2012: ‘Living with Voices.’ American Scholar. Summer: 49-60. [reprinted in Current—Required Reading Recommended by Leading Opinion Makers]

2012: ‘Beyond the brain.’ Wilson Quarterly Summer: 28-34. Sidney Award for best magazine articles, awarded by David Brooks and announced in the New York Times OpEd, December 28, 2012 [reprinted in Utne Reader, and Current—Required Reading Recommended by Leading Opinion Makers]

2012: ‘A hyper-real God and modern belief: towards an anthropological theory of mind.’ Current Anthropology 53(4): 371-395.

2012: T.M. Luhrmann, and Rachel Morgain ‘Prayer as inner sense cultivation.’ Ethos. 40(4): 359-389.

2013: “Blinded by the right? How the hippie Christians begat the evangelical movement.” Harpers Magazine. April. Pp. 39-44.

2013: ‘Lord, teach us to pray: prayer affects cognitive processing.’ With Howard Nusbaum and Ron Thisted. 13: 159-177.