Update on SAC Spring Conference information and Extended Deadline for the CFP

Transforming Energy into Action

The concept of “subtle energy” is fundamental to many of the esotericprincipals and spiritual beliefs that have been part of our world’s cultures since time immemorial.  Variously called qi (chi), mana, prana, chakra, wakan, keyoi, holy spiritcosmic etherlife force, etc., these traditions emphasize that all things, including humans, are made up of a network of complex energies and energetic fields.  The theme of the 2017 conference concerns the diverse ways in which these subtle energies can be manipulated or transformed and the significance of these practices to the world today.


We invite papers, panel proposals and workshops on topics such as:

Ø  Rituals, spiritual traditions & techniques that transform consciousness

Ø  Transformative healing and other energy healing modalities

Ø  Phenomenology and subtle energy research

Ø  Transformative power of myth and archetypes

Ø  Entheogens and psychoactive substances

Ø  Dreams and the transpersonal

Ø  Liminal states

Ø  Mind-body interaction / Interface between spirit and matter

Ø  Shamanism as a path of transformation

Ø  Anomalous human abilities (clairvoyance, psychokinesis, levitation, etc.)

Ø  Addiction and altered states

We also invite submissions of artistic works and experiential workshops that explore the interrelationships among subtle energy, consciousness and healing.  Suggestions for experiential workshops include, but are not limited to: subtle energy and creative expression, sound therapy, trance-inducing music and dance, qigong, tai chi, kirtan, chakra balancing and guided meditation.

Proposals for individual papers, panels, workshops and special events should be submitted by January 31st, 2017 to conferencesac@gmail.com.

Registration fees should be paid to AAA before submitting abstracts. Register Here  and Submit your Abstract by January 31, 2017.

Registration Prices:

Member Advanced Reg: $150

Member One-Day (onsite): $50 

Non-member Advanced Reg: $170

Non-Member One-Day (on-site): $70

Student Member Adv. Reg: $80

Student Member One-Day (onsite): $25

Student Non-Member Adv. Reg: $100

Student Non-Member One-Day (onsite): $25

If your paper is not accepted, you may request a refund of your registration fees. Submissions will not be accepted unless registration is completed by the submission deadline. Acceptance notifications will be sent by February 5th, 2017.

Limit: one paper or presentation per person, unless prior approval has been obtained from the Program Chair. Session organizers may submit individual papers for inclusion in their sessions. Please indicate whether you will require audio-visual equipment for your presentation. A projector, screen and laptop will be made available.

HOTEL REGISTRATION: The 2017 conference will be held at the California Institute for Human Science in Encinitas, CA.  Conference participants can stay at the nearby Encinitas Inn & Suites at Moonlight Beach. Breakfast is included with your room. Please contact the reservation desk and mention that you are with SAC to receive a special room rate:

(760) 942- 7455 http://www.bwencinitas.com/

A shuttle service will be available from the hotel to the conference everyday. Lunch will be provided at the conference location.

Questions? Please contact Program Coordinator Brian Bartelt at conferencesac@gmail.com




Transforming Energy into Action

SAC 37th Annual Conference
March 29th – April 1st
Encinitas, CA

Transforming Energy into Action

The concept of “subtle energy” is fundamental to many of the esoteric principals and spiritual beliefs that have been part of our world’s cultures since time immemorial.  Variously called qi (chi), mana, prana, chakra, wakan, keyoi, holy spirit, cosmic ether, life force, etc., these traditions emphasize that all things, including humans, are made up of a network of complex energies and energetic fields.  The theme of the 2017 conference concerns the diverse ways in which these subtle energies can be manipulated or transformed and the significance of these practices to the world today.

HOTEL REGISTRATION: The 2017 conference will be held at the California Institute for Human Science in Encinitas, CA.  Conference participants can stay at the nearby Encinitas Inn & Suites at Moonlight Beach.

Please contact the reservation desk and mention that you are with SAC to receive a special room rate: (760) 942-7455  http://www.bwencinitas.com/

Questions? Please contact Program Coordinator Brian Bartelt at conferencesac@gmail.com

Interested in presenting a paper, organizing a panel, or offering a workshop? Contact the conference organizers at conferencesac@gmail.com by December 18th, 2016.


Friday, November 18

4:30 PM – 4:45 PM

Hilton, Room: Salon B

Presenting Author: Cordelia Erickson-Davis  Stanford University

 Presence, or the sense of “being there,” is frequently invoked in descriptions of religious experience (e.g., the “presence of God”), unseen others (e.g., Third Man Syndrome) or one’s self (e.g., to feel fully present in the moment). Rather than a mere sensation, presence can be considered an existential feeling, or a way of finding oneself in the world (Ratcliffe, 2005). Furthermore, feelings of presence can be seen within the framework of “kindling” – the manifestation of interaction between bodily constraint and cultural invitation (Cassiniti & Luhrmann, 2014). For example, Luhrmann (2010) found that in contemporary Christian prayer practice, those with a proclivity toward absorption were more likely to report a stronger sense of the presence of God. Presence is also readily invoked in the world of virtual reality, where it is used to measure the immersiveness of a virtual environment. Virtual reality allows for the creation of complex, controlled environments in which one can manipulate specific sensory content and observe their effects on perception, including the sense of presence. It is thus a valuable tool for exploring kindling and existential feelings. I will discuss an ongoing study in which we use virtual reality to explore the interaction between sensory experience and absorption in creating a sense of presence. It will be considered as an example of what it means to enact an experimental approach in social science research.

Call for Papers Deadline Extended

Perceiving the Improbable: From Anthropology to Physics the (Hard) Evidence of Consciousness

American Anthropological Association Conference

November November 16-20

Minneapolis, MN

Call for Papers

Deadline EXTENDED April 10, 2016

Abstracts due to Sydney Yeager at sydneyyeager@gmail.com

This session hopes to provide a critical examination of the observations of Consciousness by examining the neuroscientific & physical basis of the mind & consciousness.

How do we observe consciousness, whether our own or the consciousness of others? The anthropologist’s own consciousness is a necessary tool for observation. An openness to perceiving the improbable seems a prerequisite for the scientific study of consciousness. At the very least, to be capable of observing consciousness in any meaningful way, we as anthropologists have to be open to observing the improbable experiences of others. So much of consciousness studies focuses on examining extra-ordinary experiences which offer insights into the ordinary human experience.

How important are serendipitous experiences and events to anthropologists who study consciousness? How might our understanding of our data as an outside observer differ from the insider understanding of the same information? What happens when we blur the line between the outside and inside perspectives through participation and native ethnography? Many anthropologists studying consciousness find experiencing rare forms of consciousness appealing. How does this inform their research and their findings?

This panel presents anthropological papers addressing how the presenters observe and document consciousness in their own research. It opens up an interdisciplinary dialogue for addressing consciousness as it relates to matter and the tangible; the seen and unseen. Presenters draw on interdisciplinary perspectives combining anthropology with psychology, neurology, statistics, and physics. The panel will interrogate the role of rigorous science and experiential knowledge in the study of consciousness. Asking, how do we know when we’ve got evidence of consciousness?


Wisdom sits in Places SAC spring conference schedule

Wisdom sits in Places SAC Spring Conference   Program  

SAC Spring Conference   Program  

Thursday, March 31, 2016  


Thursday Morning  

President’s Welcome and Opening Ceremony: The Wolf Spirit Singers

11:00 am–12:30     
Colonialism and Community Identity: Geopolitical, Indigenous, and Archaeological Implications of Space
Chair: Lee Gilmore

Julia K. Bilek    “Crossing and Dwelling”: Episcopal Hogans in Navajoland

Alexandra Peck   Tamanowas Rock, Intertribal Conflict, and Settler Colonialism: A Sacred   Coast Salish Site in Northwestern Washington  and Its Contemporary Implications for Historical  Archaeology

Lee Gilmore    Turn the World Upside Down: Indigenous Activists at the Parliament of the World’s Religions




Thursday  Afternoon  

2:00   –   3:30     

Mapping  Individual   and  Cultural  Space:   Occultism,   Inner   Ecology  and  Embodied  Cognition  

Session  Chair:  Sharon  G.  Mijares

2:00   –   2:20
David  Miller Biocultural Bases of Places and Spaces

2:20   –   2:40
Brian Bartelt and Mr. Njakoi John Bah Making the Invisible Visible: The Epistemology of Spatial   Experience and the Efficacy of Occult Phenomena in Cameroon.

2:40   –   3:00
Sharon  G.  Mijares:  Inner  Ecology  and  Liminal  Spaces

3:00   –   3:20

3:30   –   4:00


4:00   –   5:30
Creation  &  Consciousness: Paleolithic, Archaeological, & Human-Centered  Mappings  of  Place  and  Space
Session  Chair:  Andrew  Gurevich

4:00   –   4:20
Benjamin Campbell: Consciousness and Place Making in European Paleolithic Cave Art

4:20   –   4:40
Mark Thomas Shekoyan: Partnering with Anima Mundi: From Enframing to Co-‐Creative  Partnership  through Shamanic Biomimicry

4:40   –   5:00
Andrew  Gurevich: The Wisdom of THIS place: The Paisley Caves and the Origins of Symbolic  Consciousness  in  North  America

5:00   –   5:20

5:30  –  7:00  PM
SAC  Board  Meeting:    (Location  TBA)



Conference Program

Friday, April 1, 2016


Friday   Morning  
Check   in

10:00   –   11:30
Landscapes  of  Transformation   –   Encountering   the   Sacred  Session  Chair:  Bryan  Rill

10:00   –   10:20
Nancy  Grace:   Music   and   Ecopsychology:   Making   Place   Through   Sound   in  Space

10:20   –   10:40
Dennis  L.   Merritt:   The   Soul   of   Glacier   Country

10:40   –   11:00
Bryan   Rill:      Making   Sacred   the   Mundane:   Transforming   the   Mountain

11:00   –   11:20

11:30   –   1:30


Friday   Afternoon  
1:30   –   3:00
Romancing   the   Philosopher’s   Stone:   Romantic,   Pyrotechnic,   &  Architectonic   Perceptions   of   Place
Session  Chair:  Jordan  Burich

1:30   –   1:50
Jordan   Anthony   Burich:   Fire   In   the   Mind:   Kindling   a   Discourse   On   the  Role   of   Pyrotechnics   In   Physical   and   Cultural   Evolution

1:50   –   2:10
John   (Sean)   Hinton:   Subconscious   Aspects   of   Place:   Positivistic   vs.  Romantic   Views   of   Place   and   Consciousness

2:10   –   2:30
el-‐Sayed   el-‐Aswad:   Architectonic   Space   and   Cultural   Identity:   A   Case  Study   of   the   United   Arab   Emirates

2:30   –   2:50

3:00   –   3:30



3:30 – 5:15
Sacred Spaces of the Academic Mind 
Session Chair: Jeff MacDonald

3:30 – 3:50
Matthew C. Bronson: “Your Rubric Caged My Songbird”: Reclaiming Assessment as a Sacred Space of Reflection

3:50 – 4:10
Jeff MacDonald: Recreating Sacred Space among Refugees

4:10 – 4:30
Timothy J. Lavalli: Spaces Seldom Considered Sacred

4:30 – 4:50
Mira Z. Amiras: Walk through that door, and something will emerge—


Friday Evening

Experiential Workshop

5:30 – 7:30 Mira Z. Amiras and Erin Vang Sacred Space / Sacred Time: the Jewish Obsession with Creation, Ritual, and the Alphabet.



Conference Program

Saturday, April 2, 2016


Saturday Morning

Check in

10:00 – 11:15
The Wisdom of Shamanic Initiations

10:00 – 11:15
Susan Ross Grimaldi and John R. Lawrence, Jr.: Traveling in Tandem to Invisible Places: A Video Presentation

11:15 – 11:30


11:30 – 1:00      

Zen & the Art of Cultural Healing: Navigating Community and

Session Chair: Andrew Gurevich

11:30 – 11:50
Tara Gallagher: The Shamans of Riverwest: The Anti-power of Community Radio in Social Action

11:50 -12:10
Justin Panneck: Migratory Ascension and Human Potential: Decoding the Wisdom of Culture

12:10 – 12:30
Donna Emsel Schill: Corporeal Navigation and Human Potential

12:30 – 12:45           Discussion

1:00 – 2:30              LUNCH


Saturday Afternoon

2:30 – 4:00

Death and Resurrection: Exploring Mythological and Virtual Concepts of Death and Crisis


Session Chair: Sydney Yeager

2:30 – 2:50         Sydney Yeager: Making Sacred in Virtual Space

2:50 – 3:10         Greg Wright: The Sea of Trees – Suicide, Mental Health, and Place in Japan’s Aokigahara

3:10 – 3:30         Stanley Krippner: Anomalies and Stigmatic Activity in Brasilia

3:30 – 3:45        Discussion


Saturday Evening

6:00 – 7:15

Keynote Address – Tina Fields, PhD

“I am He as You are He as You are Me, and We are All Together” Fostering Ecopsychological Relationship with Place


7:30 – 9:30 Closing Buffet Dinner and Celebration

Drugged Subjectivity, Intoxicating Alterity

Drugged Subjectivity, Intoxicating Alterity 
Donald Pollock


This article explores the use of intoxicants by a community of Kulina Indians in western Brazil. I suggest that Kulina intoxication through alcohol, tobacco, and ayahuasca is best understood as a form of semiotic appropriation of the identity of cosmological “others,” including animal spirits, creator beings, other Indian groups, and Brazilians. I consider how embodying practices, such as song and physical movement, enhance the experience of being an “alter,” facilitated by the alterations in consciousness produced by intoxicants.

Greetings from the Editors of the AoC

New AoC Editors: Nicole Torres and Gary Moore

We are honored to accept the role of co-editors of the Anthropology of Consciousness. As the new editors of the journal, our main objectives will be to continue the tradition of the previous editors and to expand its relevance and influence within anthropology and in other areas of complementary transdisciplinary research and interests. We appreciate that the journal has a wide-ranging audience that is interested in its traditional areas of research, such as shamanism, psychoactive substances, and indigenous traditions, as well as more recent areas of interest that include neuroscience, therapeutic interventions, and the phenomenology of sleep disorder. At the same time, there are areas of research that we believe are deeply relevant to consciousness studies, and we would like to broaden the scope of the journal to include these areas of anthropological inquiry.

Our aim is to continue to select articles that are empirically rich and appeal to a transdisciplinary audience. We especially welcome manuscripts that address such issues as shamanism, entheogenic substances, religious and spiritual traditions, indigenous ways of knowing, and issues pertaining to health and healing (including Western mental health practices). We wish, during our tenure as editors, to continue the journal’s tradition of excellence in the field of consciousness studies through anthropological understanding and ethnography, especially from a multiplicity of perspectives, both inside and outside of the academy.

Check out the full letter at Wiley-Blackwell.

Recovery Poets, Recovery Workers

Recovery Poets, Recovery Workers: Labor and Place in the Dialogical Way-Finding of Homeless Addicts in Therapy
Jennifer S. Bowles


In recent years, anthropologists have built a rich body of ethnography on the experience of addiction, including important cultural critiques of treatment systems. Yet little has been written from the perspective of those who work in the everyday to help others recover from substance abuse. In this article, I reflect on my labor as a clinical social worker providing therapy for homeless women and men who struggle with addiction. Building on the eloquence of those who seek to recover, recovery poets, I demonstrate how the work of a team of frontline workers operates in a particular intersubjective realm that creates different conditions for understanding addiction and recovery than does anthropological fieldwork. By detailing the labor of recovery as I performed it using different evidence-based therapies to permit the emergence of a new consciousness, I aim to bring to center stage the complex labor of frontline workers so that their working conditions will be taken into account more often in anthropological work on addiction and treatment.

SAC Spring 2016: Call for Papers

 sac pic

“Wisdom Sits in Places:” Place, Space, and Consciousness


In his book Wisdom Sits in Places, Keith Basso suggested that place making involves multiple acts of remembering and imagining which inform each other in complex ways. The 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness will discuss how “wisdom sits in places” the ways in which people remember and imagine the realms in which they live. The Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness welcomes paper and panel proposals for its March 31-April 2, 2016 meeting at University Place Hotel in Portland, Oregon. We encourage submission of interdisciplinary and collaborative works. Topics may include, but are not limited to:


  • Ecopsychology
  • Virtual spaces and realities
  • Liminal places
  • Places and perception of time
  • Indigenous ways of knowing and place making
  • Ethnic, national, and political imaginings of place
  • Narratives and storytelling
  • Entheogens and psychoactive substances
  • Contested geographies and war zones
  • Climate change and ecological precarity
  • Natural disasters and gentrification
  • Art and place-making



Proposals for individual papers, panels, workshops and special events should be submitted by January 3, 2016. Registration fees should be paid to AAA by January 3rd. If your paper is not accepted, you may request a refund of your registration fees. Submissions will not be accepted unless the author has already completed the registration process on the AAA registration website by January 3rd.


Papers that belong to sessions must be submitted individually. Authors must register and pay before deadline. Limit: one paper or presentation per person, unless prior approval has been obtained from the Program Chair. Session organizers may submit individual papers for inclusion in their sessions. Please indicate whether you will require audiovisual equipment for your presentation on the “Finish” form. A projector and screen can be made available if needed. We have a central laptop (PC).


Hotel Information

University Place hotel and Conference Center

310 SW Lincoln Street, Portland, OR 97201
To receive a special conference rate, please contact the reservation desk at University Place Hotel and mention that you are with SAC to receive a special room rate. (503) 221-0140 or (866) 845-4647.


Questions? Please contact the Program Chair, Dr. Nicole Torres at conferencesac@gmail.com.

Radical Transformations

Thursday, November 19, 2015: 4:00 PM-5:45 PM

Mineral Hall B (Hyatt Regency)

As cultural and psychological anthropologists have long asserted, cultural practices interact dynamically with human consciousness. Both material and non-material culture have the ability to radically transform the way we perceive the world. This panel will explore the various ways in which culture in the form of symbolic objects, ritualistic behavior, ethnographic film, psychotropic agents, and belief structures can dramatically transform levels of awareness among diverse populations. Bilinsky’s original ethnographic research in New Orleans details the role of material culture in the Voodoo Spiritual Temple, including the ways in which it can function to facilitate practitioners’ communication with spirits. Adkins attempts to understand the phenomena of self-harm in the shamanic performances of the Chukchi people of Northeastern Siberia described in early 20th century ethnographies by examining the various forms of time-consciousness with which it is connected. Carrigan explores the value and potential of combining ethnography and visual anthropology as a form of action research aimed at facilitating cultural interventions. Agin-Liebes describes the profound consciousness-shifting experiences of patients with cancer and clinical anxiety who were administered psilocybin, a serotonergic psychoactive agent. Finally, Klin-Oron describes how spirit mediums come to understand raw encounters with non-material entities through pre-existing systems of meaning learned from friends and literature. Ultimately, this panel addresses the need for more nuanced consideration of the ways culture and consciousness interact.

This session would be of particular interest to:
Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students

Organizers:  Mark W Flanagan (University of Georgia)

Chairs:  Stephanie Bilinsky (Arizona State Univ) and Adam Klin-Oron (The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute)

4:00 PM
Material Culture at New Orleans’ Voodoo Spiritual Temple 
Stephanie Bilinsky (Arizona State Univ)

4:15 PM
Utmost Wonder: The Experience and Temporality of Chukchi Shamanic Self-Harm Tyler Adkins (Princeton University, Department of Anthropology)

4:30 PM
Ethnographic Film Case Studies: Towards an Anthropology of Liberation Coleen M Carrigan (California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo)

4:45 PM
Psilocybin-Administration As a Treatment for Anxiety in Cancer Patients: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis 
Gabrielle Agin-Liebes (NYU School of Medicine)

5:00 PM
From “Wild” to “Cultivated” Visions: Self-Socialization Among New Age Channels Adam Klin-Oron (The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute)

5:15 PM