John Templeton Foundation
Home Approach Chair Participants

A cultural anthropologist whose principal interests are in anthropological theory, religion and mental health, embodiment, language and culture, and cultural phenomenology, Thomas J. Csordas is a professor of anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. He was graduated from Ohio State University, took his Ph.D. at Duke University in 1980, and subsequently studied psychiatric anthropology at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Csordas taught at Duke, Vance-Granville Community College in Henderson, North Carolina, and the University of North Carolina before joining the Harvard medical faculty in 1986 as an instructor in medical anthropology. He was an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, in 1989-90, then accepted an appointment at Case Western Reserve University as an associate professor. He was promoted to professor of anthropology six years later. In 2000, he was granted a secondary appointment as professor of religion. From 2002 to 2004, he served as chair of the department of anthropology at Case. His research among charismatic Catholics and members of the Navajo nation has focused on such topics as therapeutic process, ritual language, imagery, transformations of self, experience of the body, and causal reasoning about illness. His work has been recognized with the Stirling Award for Contributions in Psychological Anthropology as well as with awards of residential fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation and the Collegium Budapest. He has received grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Center for American Indian and Native Alaskan Mental Health Research, the Milton Fund, the W. B. Arnold Pain Treatment and Research Center, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the U. S. Department of Education's Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education. Dr. Csordas also is the recipient of Case's John S. Diekhoff Award for Distinguished Graduate Teaching. He has served as president of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion and as editor of Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology. In addition to publishing more than thirty journal articles and book chapters, he is the editor of Embodiment and Experience: The Existential Ground of Culture and Self (1994) and guest editor of Ritual Healing and Navajo Society (2000), a special issue of the Medical Anthropology Quarterly. His books include The Sacred Self: A Cultural Phenomenology of Charismatic Healing (1994), Language, Charisma, and Creativity: The Ritual Life of a Religious Movement (1997), and Body/Meaning/Healing, which was published last year by Palgrave. Dr. Csordas is working on a new book tentatively entitled "Navajo People, Navajo Healing."