Towards a Renewed Definition of Shamanism

A Modest Proposal for Consilience Between Post-structural and Neurocognitive Approaches


  • Sergio Botta Sapienza Università di Roma



shamanism, poststructuralism, cognitive sciences, History of Religions, Religious Studies


The present reply offers some reflections on Leonardo Ambasciano’s commentary entitled Shamanism Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow and included in this same issue of Journal of Cognitive Historiography. A particular point of contention is represented by the potential contribution that a post-structural approach could offer to a scientific re-description of shamanism as an analytical category in the contemporary academic field of Religious Studies.

Author Biography

Sergio Botta, Sapienza Università di Roma

Sergio Botta, PhD is Associate Professor in History of Religions. He teaches History of Religions and History of the Americas at Sapienza University, Rome. His main research interests are Indigenous Religions of the Americas (with a particular interest in Mesoamerican cultures), Method and Theory in the Study of Religions, Shamanism, and Religions and the Arts. He is the Editor in Chief of the academic journal Studi e Materiali di Storia delle Religioni. Among his books: Le acque preziose. Saggio sui sistemi religiosi mesoamericani (2004); La religione del Messico antico (2006); Religione e Conquista. Saggi sul discorso coloniale in Messico (2008); Cinema e religioni (co-authored with E. Prinzivalli, 2010); Manufacturing Otherness: Missions and Indigenous Cultures in Latin America (2013); Acerca de la (des)memoria y su construcción en Mesoamérica y Andes (co-authored with C. Battcock, 2014); Le Religioni e le Arti. Percorsi interdisciplinari in età contemporanea (co-authored with T. Canella, 2015); Corpi sciamanici. La nozione di persona nello studio dello sciamanesimo (co-authored with M. Ferrara, 2018); and Dagli sciamani allo sciamanesimo. Discorsi, credenze, pratiche (2018).


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How to Cite

Botta, S. . (2022). Towards a Renewed Definition of Shamanism: A Modest Proposal for Consilience Between Post-structural and Neurocognitive Approaches. Journal of Cognitive Historiography, 6(1-2), 229–235.



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