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By Susan A Johnston

Anthropologist Susan Johnston turns a scholarly eye on considered one of humankind's basic pursuits all through background: the religious trust system.

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Why does it rain? Why do people get sick and die? Why do seasons change? How is it that people differ from each other? How are babies created? These are all questions whose answers are not always readily apparent, and so it is quite rational to think that they may have been caused by unseen forces working in or from a reality other than the observable, everyday one. Further, the experience of living as a human being probably also contributes to this explanatory framework. We experience ourselves as, in some sense, inhabiting our physical body but being in some way separate from it.

Oglala Religion. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1977. Schieffelin, Edward L. The Sorrow of the Lonely and the Burning of the Dancers. 2nd ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. Stoller, Paul. Fusion of the Worlds: An Ethnography of Possession Among the Songhay of Niger. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. net website was established to promote and facilitate discussion, to review research, to extend stewardship of resources, and to disseminate knowledge relevant to anthropology.

Well, it depends on how you interpret it. For one thing, there is no evidence in recent history or modern society for a culture in which women had a dominant social position relative to men. Instead, we run the gamut from relatively equal to highly male-dominant in terms of public, recognized social power. So if it existed in the past, it hasn’t existed as long as we’ve had written documents and the ability to talk to people about their culture. Some writers have also pointed to places where female figurines and other depictions suggest a dominant female religious presence.

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