Skip to content Skip to navigation

Tanya Luhrmann

Tanya Luhrmann

Howard H. and Jessie T. Watkins University Professor
Handa Affiliation(s): 
M.Phil., Cambridge University, Social Anthropology (1982)
Ph.D., Cambridge University, Social Anthropology (1986)
B.A., Harvard University, Folklore and Mythology (1981)

Tanya Marie Luhrmann is the Watkins University Professor in the Stanford Anthropology Department, with a courtesy appointment in Psychology. Her work focuses on the edge of experience: on voices, visions, the world of the supernatural and the world of psychosis. She has done ethnography on the streets of Chicago with homeless and psychotic women, and worked with people who hear voices in Chennai, Accra and the South Bay. She has also done fieldwork with evangelical Christians who seek to hear God speak back, with Zoroastrians who set out to create a more mystical faith, and with people who practice magic. She uses a combination of ethnographic and experimental methods to understand the phenomenology of unusual sensory experiences, the way they are shaped by ideas about minds and persons, and what we can learn from this social shaping that can help us to help those whose voices are distressing.She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003 and received a John Guggenheim Fellowship award in 2007.When God Talks Back was named a NYT Notable Book of the Year and a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, and received the 2014 Grawemeyer Award for Religion, a prize that carries $100,000. She has published over thirty OpEds in The New York Times, and her work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, Science News, and many other publications. Her new book, Our Most Troubling Madness: Schizophrenia and Culture, was published by the University of California Press in October 2016.