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Tanya Marie Luhrmann (born 1959) is an American psychological anthropologist best known for her studies of modern-day witches, charismatic Christians, and psychiatrists. She received her AB summa cum laude in Folklore and Mythology from Harvard-Radcliffe in 1981, working with Stanley Tambiah. She then studied Social Anthropology at Cambridge University, working with Jack Goody and Ernest Gellner. In 1986 she received her PhD for work on modern-day witches in England, later published as Persuasions of the Witch's Craft (1989). In this book, she described the ways in which magic and other esoteric techniques both serve emotional needs and come to seem reasonable through the experience of practice.
Her second research project looked at the situation of contemporary Parsis, a Zoroastrian community in India. The Parsi community enjoyed a privileged position under the British Raj; although by many standards, Parsis have continued to do quite well economically in post-colonial India, they have become politically marginal in comparison to their previous position, and many Parsis speak pessimistically about the future of their community. Luhrmann's book The Good Parsi (1996) explored the contradictions inherent in the social psychology of a post-colonial elite.
Her third book, and the most widely acclaimed, explored the contradictions and tensions between two models of psychiatry, the psychodynamic (psychoanalytic) and the biomedical, through the ethnographic study of the training of American psychiatry residents during the health care transition of the early 1990s. Of Two Minds (2000) received several awards, including the Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing and the Boyer Prize for Psychological Anthropology (2001).
Her fourth book, When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God (March 2012), examines the growing movement of evangelical and charismatic Christianity, and specifically how practitioners come to experience God as someone with whom they can communicate on a daily basis through prayer and visualization.
Tanya Luhrmann was a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, San Diego, from 1989-2000. From 2000-2007, she was Max Palevsky Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago, where she was also a director of the program in Clinical Ethnography. As of spring 2007, she is now a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University.
She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003, president of the Society for Psychological Anthropology for 2008. She has received numerous awards for scholarship, including the AAA President's award for 2004 and a 2007 Guggenheim award. She often publishes as T.M. Luhrmann. In 2006, Luhrmann delivered the Lewis Henry Morgan Lecture at the University of Rochester, considered by many to be the most important annual lecture series in the field of Anthropology.
- Luhrmann, Tanya M. (2012) when God talks back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
- Luhrmann, Tanya M. (2004) "Metakinesis: How God Becomes Intimate in Contemporary U.S. Christianity". American Anthropologist 106(3):518-528.
- Luhrmann, Tanya M. (2000) Of two minds: The growing disorder in American psychiatry. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
- Luhrmann, Tanya M. (1996) The Good Parsi: the postcolonial anxieties of an Indian colonial elite. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Luhrmann, Tanya M. (1989) Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- http://www.jstor.org/stable/2781128 Mary Jo Neitz "Review: Persuasions of the Witch's Craft: Ritual Magic in Contemporary England." The American Journal of Sociology © 1990
- Laura Miller "Review: Of Two Minds By T.M. Luhrmann" Salon, May 25, 2000
- SPA Prize Winners
- Medscape Perspectives on the 2007 Annual Sessions of the American Psychiatric Association: May 23, 2007
- The Stanford Daily, 2007 Feb 1: "AnthSci and CASA merge into one dept"
- University of Chicago Chronicle, May 29, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 17
- Anthropology News, February 2005
- Stanford Report, May 2, 2007: Honors & Awards
- Guggenheim Foundation 2007 Fellows