Re: Korean Shamanism

Pauline Shafer (pali@U.WASHINGTON.EDU)
Fri, 3 Nov 1995 07:54:08 -0800

Wow, if this was imperative enough to have to say twice I guess I better
explain myself! As noted in my original request, I am approaching the
investigation with emphasis on gender. Thus, my owm personal awareness of
the term. Also, the other day when inquiring around school before I
posted, I ran into Sue-Ellen Jacobs, a wonderful influential professor of
Women's Studies and Anthropology. She has focused extensively on gender
in her work on Native Americans. When I used the term "shamans" in
reference to the Korean shamanesses, she correcetd me, offering
"shamanesses". So, I feel have to admit that I feel she is my elder and
far more knowledable in such areas, so I gladly accept her correction.
However, this doesn't mark some paradigm for me for gender inflected
titles. Also, in my scant introduction to the subject I have noted that
in writings about "shamans" there is a perponderance of absence of
mention of the Korean tradition. Which I find curious, since it is one of
the few where women predominate. I would think it would be a noteworthy
topic in a survey, or general discussion. So, I guess I feel a desire to
note that it is women who fill the role, in light of their prior absence
(excepting those works which deal with them explicitely).

So, since you asked "why", I hope this response suffices. When you say
"we" are you meaning convention in Anthropological writing? Or just
colloquial accepted usage? I actually have heard some people use the term
"poetess", in reference to themselves! Something to do with wanting to
embrace the merging of their gender with their writing.


On Thu, 2 Nov 1995, Ruby Rohrlich wrote:

> Why "shamaness"? A shaman is a shaman is a shaman. If you want to
> distinguish a shaman by sex, use the word denoting sex, like "male" or
> "female". We no longer use poetess, authoress, etc., and never have used
> "doctoress." Ruby Rohrlich