Mesoamerican Healers / Edition 1

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Healing practices in Mesoamerica span a wide range, from traditional folk medicine with roots reaching back into the prehispanic era to westernized biomedicine. These sometimes cooperating, sometimes competing practices have attracted attention from researchers and the public alike, as interest in alternative medicine and holistic healing continues to grow.
Responding to this interest, the essays in this book offer a comprehensive, state-of-the-art survey of Mesoamerican healers and medical practices in Mexico and Guatemala. The first two essays describe the work of prehispanic and colonial healers and show how their roles changed over time. The remaining essays look at contemporary healers, including bonesetters, curers, midwives, nurses, physicians, social workers, and spiritualists. Using a variety of theoretical approaches, the authors examine such topics as the intersection of gender and curing, the recruitment of healers and their training, healers’ compensation and workload, types of illnesses treated and recommended treatments, conceptual models used in diagnosis and treatment, and the relationships among healers and between indigenous healers and medical and political authorities.
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Editorial Reviews

Since the literature on indigenous medicine in Mexico and Guatemala is rich but dispersed, this volume's value lies precisely in the comprehensive, authoritative, and updated coverage by the 14 contributing authors and the excellent bibliography.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology
The book.... is an excellent textbook for broadening the scope of, for example, classes in ethnobotany and ethnopharmacy. At the same time, it is of course a very useful resource for anyone interested in medical anthropology.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292734562
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 420
  • Sales rank: 1,241,248
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Table of Contents


Bernard Ortiz de Montellano

Brad R. Huber

Curers and Their Cures in Colonial New Spain and Guatemala: The Spanish Component
Luz María Hernández Sáenz (University of Western Ontario) and George M. Foster (University of California–Berkeley)

Curanderismo in Mexico and Guatemala: Its Historical Evolution from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century
Carlos Viesca Treviño (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico)

Central and North Mexican Shamans
James W. Dow (Oakland University)

A Comparative Analysis of Southern Mexican and Guatemalan Shamans
Frank J. Lipp (New York State Office of Children and Family Services)

Mistress of Lo Espiritual
Kaja Finkler (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Recruitment, Training, and Practice of Indigenous Midwives: From the Mexico–United States Border to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec
Brad R. Huber and Alan R. Sandstrom

Maya Midwives of Southern Mexico and Guatemala
Sheila Cosminsky (Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey)

Relations between Government Health Workers and Traditional Midwives in Guatemala
Elena Hurtado (Instituto de Nutrición de Centro América y Panamá, Guatemala) and Eugenia Sáenz de Tejada (Pan American Health Organization)

Mesoamerican Bonesetters
Benjamin D. Paul (Stanford University) and Clancy McMahon (independent scholar, Arkansas)

Mexican Physicians, Nurses, and Social Workers
Margaret E. Harrison (Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education, U.K.)

Mesoamerican Healers and Medical Anthropology: Summary and Concluding Remarks
Alan R. Sandstrom

References Cited

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