Tanya Marie Luhrmann is the Watkins University Professor in the Stanford Anthropology Department. She is a medical and psychological anthropologist, and also an anthropologist of religion. More recently she describes her work as an anthropology of mind. She sets out to understand the way people represent thought itself, and the way those culturally varied representations shape the most intimate experience of life itself. She asks how the world is made real for people, and how that realness shapes a person’s sense of capacity and purpose. She has done ethnography on the streets of Chicago with homeless and psychotic women, and worked with people who hear voices in Chennai, Accra and the South Bay. She has also done fieldwork with evangelical Christians who seek to hear God speak back, with Zoroastrians who set out to create a more mystical faith, and with people who practice magic.
She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003 and received a John Guggenheim Fellowship award in 2007.When God Talks Back was named a NYT Notable Book of the Year and a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year. Her last book, Our Most Troubling Madness: Schizophrenia and Culture, was published by the University of California Press. How God Becomes Real will be published by Princeton in 2020.