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Erick White

Visting Assistant Professor

Overview

Dr. Erick White received his B.A. in religion from Amherst College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Cornell University. His dissertation research on contemporary Thailand focused on the cultural politics of spirit possession, the religious careers of spirit mediums, and the social significance of possession within Thai Buddhism and popular religiosity. In his fieldwork he studied the subculture of Bangkok professional spirit mediums and the social and cultural dynamics underlying their distinctive claims to charismatic authority and religious legitimacy within a Theravada Buddhist milieu. Currently, he is revising his dissertation into a monograph. This will involve archival research in the Kroch collections, generating an updated database of vernacular, popular press reporting on and advertisements by professional spirit mediums from the historical eras before, during, and after his ethnographic fieldwork. He will also review recent debates in the sociological and anthropological scholarship concerning social field theory to rethink his dissertation’s empirical findings regarding the sociocultural dynamics of contemporary Thai Buddhist actors, institutions, and ideologies.

Departments/Programs

  • Asian Studies
  • Religious Studies Program