Julia CassanitiReturn to the Blog

By Justin Nadir on September 4th, 2013

Julia Cassaniti, Ph.D

Stanford University
Postdoctoral Scholar
Department of Anthropology

Current projects: I’m right now i­­­­nvolved in a few different projects that center on the ways that everyday psychological functioning is influenced by and made up through Buddhist thought in a small community in Northern Thailand. My dissertation, Control in a World of Change: Emotion and Morality in a Northern Thai town was about the construction of personal agency through the awareness of impermanence (Pali: anicca). I’m currently in the middle of turning the dissertation into a book. In addition to the book project I’m also working on a few related projects that are similarly based on my long-term ethnographic fieldwork with everyday psychological life in a small community near Chiang Mai. In one project I’ve been interviewing people on their encounters with the supernatural, as articulated through both ghostly and Buddhist lenses, and am trying to understand how unusual sensory experiences are related to theories of mind. Other projects include 1) a growing interest in mindfulness (Pali: sati) and the ways its different interpretations are seen to bridge modern psychology and magic, 2) Buddhist sermons, and 3) psychiatry and mental health.

Recent and upcoming activities: After graduating from the University of Chicago in 2009 I’ve just completed a postdoc at Stanford University and am heading this fall to Washington State University as Assistant Professor of Medical and Psychological Anthropology. There I plan to finish the book and the supernatural project, and continue work on modern Thai mindfulness, psychology, and mental health.

Some of my current publications include:

  • Cassaniti, Julia. 2012. Agency and the Other: The Role of Agency for the Importance of Belief in Buddhist and Christian Traditions. Ethos, The Journal of Psychological Anthropology, 40(3), pp. 297–316.
  • Cassaniti, Julia and Tanya Marie Luhrmann. 2011. Encountering the Supernatural: A Phenomenological Account of Mind. Religion and Society: Advances in Research, 2, pp. 37-53.
  • Robbins, Joel, Julia Cassaniti, and Tanya Marie Luhrmann. 2011. The constitution of mind: what’s in a mind? Interiority and boundedness. Soumen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society36(2) pp. 15-21

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