Senses and Gender in Modern and Ancient Greek Healing Rituals

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
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Abstract

This article presents ethnographic fieldwork combined with studies of historical sources to explore modern and ancient healing rituals in Greece. It focuses on the importance of the senses, especially smell, taste, and sight, in relation to gendered practices and beliefs about healing. In Greece, healing rituals are generally connected with the domestic sphere where women are the dominant agents of power. Based upon the author's fieldwork, the article presents the “female sphere” from the perspectives of female informants. It seeks to deconstruct male perceptions of women and their magic healing rituals that appear in ancient sources produced by men, by a comparison with the modern material.

Contributor Notes

Evy Johanne Håland is a Norwegian Researcher, Dr/PhD, History, and is a Lifetime Government Grant Holder (Norwegian, statsstipendiat). Since 1983, she has had several periods of fieldwork in the Mediterranean, mainly in Greece and Italy, where she has also been conducting research on religious festivals and life-cycle rituals. From 1989 to 2008, Håland was affiliated with the University of Bergen, Norway, where she worked as Lecturer/Research Fellow in history. Since 2009 she has lectured at several European universities, and in the period from 2011 to 2013, she worked as a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellow in the Department of Archaeology and History of Art, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. Email: ejhaland@gmail.com ORCID: 0000-0001-5052-8688.