March 21, 2005


LEWISBURG, Pa. — Paul Stoller, professor of anthropology at West Chester University, will give the talk, "A Sorcerer's Path: A Story of Illness and Healing," Wednesday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

Stoller is an internationally recognized anthropologist, whose work on sorcery and spirit possession among the Songhay of Niger, West Africa, spans three decades.

Known for his contributions to ethnographic methods and writing by demonstrating the importance of embodied and/or sensory experience in anthropological fieldwork, Stoller is the author of nine books including the award-winning Money Has No Smell: The Africanization of New York City, and Jaguar: A Story of Africans in America.

His lecture is based on his most recent book, Stranger in the Village of the Sick: A Memoir of Cancer, Sorcery, and Healing, in which he reveals the lessons gained from the merging of anthropology and everyday life.

Beacon Press calls the book "An astonishing story of how one man's knowledge of West African sorcery transformed his experience of cancer."

From 1976-90, Stoller was an apprentice to Songhay sorcerers in Niger, West Africa. In 2001, he was diagnosed with lymphoma.

"In his lecture, he draws parallels between his experience of cancer and treatment in the United States, his journey into the world of Songhay sorcery, and his Jewish identity," said Michelle Johnson, assistant professor of anthropology at Bucknell.

"In recounting his story of self-discovery and spiritual growth, Stoller explores the cultural dimensions of illness and challenges the boundaries between biomedicine and indigenous healing," she said.

Stoller's talk will be followed by a book signing in Walls Lounge, located on the second floor of the Elaine Langone Center.

The lecture, which is free to the public, is sponsored by the department of sociology and anthropology and is co-sponsored by the departments of religion and comparative humanities, the Race/Gender Resource Center, and the University Lectureship Committee.

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