Journeys to Others and Lessons of Self: Carlos Castaneda, Indigenismo, and the Politics of a New Age

Ageeth Sluis, Associate Professor, Departments of History and Anthropology, Butler University, and Visiting Research Associate, SAR

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, October 3, 2012, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

During the 1960s and 1970s, Carlos Castaneda’s work on shamanism introduced a large international readership to Mexico at a time when the Americas saw pronounced socio-political and cultural changes: mounting social unrest, political instability, civil rights movements, the counterculture, and the sexual and other revolutions. While heavily criticized by contemporary scholars, Castaneda's work became instrumental in the construction of an imagined Mexico, which, in addition to drawing counterculture tourists, featured new ways of conceptualizing race and gender. Seeking to understand the Castaneda phenomenon within a larger transnational context, the study sheds light on how new conceptions of indigenous identity informed “New Age” tourism to Mexico, ideas of self in the budding Chicano movement in the U.S., the reflexive turn in anthropology, and new guerrilla movements that would champion indigenous rights.

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