Summary of book

Immortal Wishes (Home)

Brandeis Anthropology


The Author

Ellen Schattschneider (Department of Anthropology, Brandeis University) is a sociocultural anthropologist specializing in psychoanalytic, phenomenological and practice approaches to culture. She has strong ethnographic interests in East Asia, especially Japan. She received undergraduate training in philosophy, psychology and anthropology at Sarah Lawrence College, and graduate training in anthropology at the University of Chicago. Her principal ethnographic work has been conducted in the Tsugaru region of northern Tohoku, Japan (1991-92, 1997, 1999 and 2002). Dr. Schattschneider's academic writings give particular attention to ritual performance, gender and embodiment, spirit mediumship, sacred landscapes, visuality and the power of images, popular religious experience and comparative capitalist cultures. Her new book, Immortal Wishes: Labor and Transcendence on a Japanese Sacred Mountain (Duke University Press, April 2003) explores healing, self-fashioning and embodied psychodynamic processes on a sacred landscape associated with a Shinto shrine founded by a rural Japanese woman in the 1920s.

Her current research project, Facing the Dead: Japanese Bride Dolls in the Mirror of War, examines contemporary Japanese practices of spirit marriage and doll dedication, with close attention to traumatic popular memories of World War II and its legacies. She has been awarded a Fulbright grant for research in Japan during 2003-04 on this topic.

Her courses at Brandeis include, "Culture, Gender and Power in East Asia," "The Anthropology of Religion," and "Myth, Symbol, Ritual."

Dr. Schattschneider is deeply committed to interdisciplinary conversations among those working in anthropology, religious studies, psychoanalytic studies and the arts. Before becoming an anthropologist, she worked as a textile artist and designer, organizing indigenous textile cooperatives in the northern Philippines, studying kimono weaving in Kyoto at Kawashima Textile School and curating textile arts exhibitions in North America and in the Philippines. She retains personal and academic interests in weaving, painting and gardening.

Dr. Schattschneider is a research affiliate at Hirosaki University (Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture, Japan)

Department of Anthropology.

Brandeis University

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immortal wishes:
labor and transcendence
on a Japanese sacred mountain

Ellen Schattschneider

Duke University Press (2003)

Website developed by Ellen Schattschneider (Brandeis University)