Tedlock, Barbara 1942- (Barbara Helen Tedlock)

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Tedlock, Barbara 1942- (Barbara Helen Tedlock)


Born September 9, 1942, in Battle Creek, MI; daughter of Byron Taylor and Mona Gerteresse McGrath; married Dennis E. Tedlock, July 19, 1968. Education: University of California, Berkeley, B.A. 1967; Wesleyan University, M.A., 1973; State University of New York at Albany, Ph.D., 1978. Hobbies and other interests: Skiing, running, swimming, dance, videoing.


Office—Department of Anthropology, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, 14261-0001. E-mail—[email protected].


Tufts University, Medord, MA, lecturer in music, 1977-78, assistant professor, 1978-82, associate professor of anthropology, 1982-87; State University of New York, Buffalo, associate professor, 1987-89, professor of anthropology, 1989-2003, distinguished professor of anthropology, 2003—, chair of the department, 1998-2000, 2002-03, associate dean of undergraduate education, 2000-01. Visiting member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 1986. Advisory board member, Museum of Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM, 1991-95; member of Roycrofters-at-large East Aurora, NY, 1989; Cultural Survival, 1980; and humanities panel WGBH, Boston, MA, 1983-84.


American Anthropological Association (fellow; board of directors, 1991-93), Society for Cultural Anthropology, American Philosophical Society, American Association of University Women, PEN, Society for Humanistic Anthropology (president, 1991-93), Society for Psychological Anthropology (board of directors, 1993-96), Association for Study of Dreams (board of directors, 1990-95), Society for Ethnohistory (executive board, 1980-82), American Studies Association (executive board, 1983-85), Association on American Indian Affairs.


Prize in linguistics, International Congress of Americanists, 1979; Weatherhead fellowship, School of American Research, 1980; writing prize, Society for Humanistic Anthropology, 1986; National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, 1986, 1993; American Council of Learned Societies fellowship, 1994; President's Award for Leadership, American Anthropological Association, 1997; Center for the Study of World Religions/Harvard University senior fellowship, 1998; American Philosopical Society sabbatical fellow, 2002-03.


(Editor, with husband, Dennis E. Tedlock) Teachings from the American Earth: Indian Religion and Philosophy, Liveright (New York, NY), 1975.

Time and the Highland Maya, University of New Mexico Press (Albuquerque, NM), 1982, revised edition with foreword by Nathaniel Tarn, 1992.

(Editor) Dreaming: Anthropological and Psychological Interpretations, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1987.

The Beautiful and the Dangerous: Encounters with the Zuni Indians, Viking (New York, NY), 1992.

The Woman in the Shaman's Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Associate editor, Journal of Anthropological Research, 1987-93; senior editor, Dreaming, 1990-95; associate editor, Latin American Research Review, 1992; editor-in-chief, American Anthropologist, 1994-98. Member of the editorial advisory board, Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology, 1993-95, and Handbook of Qualitative Research, 1998.


Barbara Tedlock is an anthropologist, as well as the granddaughter of an Ojibwe midwife and herbalist. She is also a shaman initiated by the Quiché (or K'iche') Maya of highland Guatemala. She has written about a wide range of anthropological topics, especially about the native peoples of North and South America and shamanism. Tedlock examines the ritual calendar practices of the Quiché Maya in her book Time and the Highland Maya. These Indians use a 260-day Sacred Earth Calendar not only to keep track of linear time but also as a fundamental way of looking at the world within many aspects of their culture and society. Writing on Alignment2012.com, John Major Jenkins noted that the anthropological study is nontraditional in that the author incorporates her own apprenticeship under an Indian calendar- diviner into the her analyses. "The way in which this approach shapes Tedlock's book is that it blends objectivity with subjective experience, and defines an expanded approach, a less ethnocentric approach to understanding a native religion," explained Jenkins, who felt that the book's "good points are many."

Tedlock's book The Beautiful and the Dangerous: Encounters with the Zuni Indians presents the legends, songs, ceremonies, and folk medicines of the Zunis of western New Mexico, an agrarian, matriarchal tribe. The book also explores a Zuni family as they try to honor their past traditions while living in the modern era. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author "powerfully portrays the tribe's visceral and mystic nature." Willard Walker, writing in the American Indian Quarterly, commented: "One can learn a great deal from Tedlock's book about Zuni culture and society and Zuni relations with Anglo America and with such diverse ethnic groups as the Navajos, Mormons, Hispanics, and Arabs. Tedlock's skills as an observer and interpreter of Zuni thought and behavior are demonstrated in brilliant chapters on hunting, clowning, and ritual practice and in a superb description of Shalako."

In her The Woman in the Shaman's Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine, Tedlock sets out to document the female influence in shamanism. Women's shaman roles have largely been ignored by anthropologists, who, for the most part, believed that shamans were primarily males who practiced their craft in solitary rituals. The author points out that the earliest-known shamanic burial dating back 30,000 years ago was the burial of a shaman woman. Tedlock also explores how anthropologists have misread data and goes on to present her case that women have, in fact, been primary players in the practice of shamanism. In addition, the author writes about her own initiation into shamanism. Patricia Monaghan commented in Booklist that the "book should become the classic on the controversial but now indisputable question of women's place in the shaman's world." Several reviewers observed how the author combines personal experience and rigid anthropological analyses in her book. For example, Anna M. Donnelly wrote in the Library Journal that the author blends "lore … from her Ojibwe grandmother … with her own academic rigor" in presenting her case for powerful woman shamans. Women's Review of Books critic Serenity Young concluded that the author "has written an important, readable book that combines the argumentative intellectual reasoning of the scholar with the intuitive emotional reasoning of the shaman."



American Anthropologist, December, 1988, review of Dreaming: Anthropological and Psychological Interpretations, p. 991; June, 1993, review of Time and the Highland Maya, p. 509; September, 1993, review of Dreaming, p. 733.

American Ethnologist, August, 1989, review of Dreaming, p. 602; February, 1997, review of The Beautiful and the Dangerous: Encounters with the Zuni Indians, p. 223.

American Indian Quarterly, spring, 1994, Willard Walker, review of The Beautiful and the Dangerous, p. 272.

Australian Journal of Anthropology, winter, 1990, review of Dreaming, p. 70.

Booklist, June 1, 1992, review of The Beautiful and the Dangerous, p. 1744; March 15, 2005, Patricia Monaghan, review of The Woman in the Shaman's Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine, p. 1249.

Library Journal, May 15, 1992, review of The Beautiful and the Dangerous, p. 98; March 15, 2005, Anna M. Donnelly, review of The Woman in the Shaman's Body, p. 90.

Parabola, fall, 1993, "Where You Want to Be: An Interview with Dennis and Barbara Tedlock," p. 43.

Publishers Weekly, April 20, 1992, review of The Beautiful and the Dangerous, p. 42; June 14, 1993, review of The Beautiful and the Dangerous, p. 68.

Women's Review of Books, July-August, 2006, Serenity Young, review of The Woman in the Shaman's Body, p. 14.

USA Today, June 1, 2005, "Can Shamanism Really Heal Patients?," p. 12.


Alignment2012.com,http://Alignment2012.com (April 25, 2007), John Major Jenkins, review of Time and the Highland Maya.

Barbara Tedlock Home Page,http://www.barbaratedlock.com (July 26, 2007).

State University of New York at Buffalo Deptartment of Anthropology Web site,http://anthropology.buffalo.edu/ (April 25, 2007), faculty profile of Barbara Tedlock.