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Konstantinos Zorbas

Date: Jul 12, 2019    Browse: []

Konstantinos Zorbas, MLitt, PhD

Assistant Professor[]

Konstantinos Zorbas holds a doctorate in social anthropology and northern Russian Studies from the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University, and a Master of Letters in social anthropology from the University of St. Andrews, UK.

His major fieldwork was done in the Republic of Tyva, south Siberia [funded with an individual research grant by the Wenner-Gren Foundation]. During this fieldwork, he examined an aspect of shamanic revival involving rituals of healing and retaliation against perceived afflictions with sorcery in the capital city of Tyva. In addition to this research on shamanic religion and social conflict in a Siberian region, he is interested in Manchu ethnic identity and cultural revival, and has carried out fieldwork in Jilin Province, northeastern China. He speaks Greek (native language), English, Russian, and has a basic knowledge of Mandarin. He is associate professor at the Department of Anthropology, Shandong University, where he has taught since 2012.

Classes taught: Political Anthropology

History of Anthropology

Medical Anthropology

Anthropology of Law

Ethnography and Writing

Anthropology of Religion


“Agents of Evil: Curse Accusations and Shamanic Retaliation in post-Soviet Tuva, Siberia”. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Cambridge University (PhD supervisor: Piers Vitebsky), 2007, 232 pp.

Shamanic Dialogues with the Invisible Dark in Tuva, Siberia: The Cursed Lives”. Forthcoming (2021). Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Representative articles

Zorbas, Konstantinos. 2020. “Shamanism, Occult Murder, and Political Assassination in Siberia and Beyond”. Special Issue: “Spectral Revolutions: Occult Economies in Asia”.Made in ChinaJournal (Australian National University Press), vol. 5: 154-159.

Zorbas, Konstantinos. 2019. “The Professionalization of Revivalist Shamans as Ministers of Justice in Tuva, Siberia”. InAnthropos: International Review of Anthropology and Linguistics, vol. 114: 87-96.

Ζorbas, Konstantinos. 2017. “Shamans and the concept of “cursing” in Tuva, Siberia]. In the JournalFolklore,National Academy of Athens, pp.163-176.In Greek.

Zorbas, Konstantinos. 2017. “Resorting to shamanic agencies: filling in for the failure of the official institutions in a Siberian periphery (Tuva Republic, Russia). InTrames: Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences (Estonian Academy Publishers), vol. 21 (2), pp. 133-149.

Zorbas, Konstantinos. 2017. “Shamanism and Legally Unfathomable Crimes against Life in Tuva, Siberia”. InAnthropological Pathways(edited by Papageorgopoulou Christina et al.)Mystis Publications (Crete, Greece), pp. 439-456.

Zorbas, Konstantinos. 2015. “The Origins and Reinvention of Shamanic Retaliation in a Siberian City (Tuva Republic, Russia)”.Journal of Anthropological Research(University of Chicago Press),vol. 71, pp. 401-422.

Zorbas, Konstantinos. 2013. “Shirokogoroff’sPsychomental Complexas a Context for Analysing Shamanic Mediations in Medicine and Law (Tuva, Siberia)”.SHAMAN:International Journal of Shamanistic Research, vol. 21, pp. 81-102. 2013.

Lectures and Conference Presentations

Shamans and the Global Pandemic of Retribution amidst Russia’s “Rogue Nation” - Tuva, Siberia”. Presentation for Panel 110 “Things are not as they seem: Tracing the movements and immobility of conspiracy theories”. In the 15thEASA Biennial Conference, Stockholm University, Sweden, 14-17 August 2018.

Reflections on UNESCO’s Recognition of Tusi Relics as Sites of World Heritage”. In the 7thInternational Symposium on Tusi System and Tusi Culture of China, Southwest Minzu University, Chengdu (Sichuan Province), 4-5 November 2017.

Supernatural Sanctions, Legal Pluralism and Political Procedure in south Siberia”. In the conference “Environment of north-east Asia: cultural perception and policy engagement”. Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, 2-3 December 2016.

Supernatural Sanctions and Political Procedure”. Paper presented in the conference “Siberia: Past, Present and Future”. Girton College, University of Cambridge, 28-29 September 2016.

Social tensions and the proliferation of a shamanic anti-sociality in North Asia”. In the 12thconference of the International Society for Academic Research on Shamanism. Conference theme: “Sacred Landscapes and Conflict Transformation: History, Space, Place and Power in Shamanism”, European Cultural Centre of Delphi, Greece, 9-13 October 2015.

Permutations of Religion: the rise of a shamanic judiciary in Tuva, Siberia”. In the conference “Transnational Flows of People and Cultures in Northeast Asia”, Department of Anthropology, Shandong University, 18-21 June 2015.

Revivals of Religious Heritage: some new challenges for anthropology in practice”. In the Annual conference of the East Asian Anthropological Association, Yeungnam University, South Korea, 14-16 November 2014.

Reinventing Siberian and Manchu shamanism: ethnographic reflections on shamans in absentia”. In the conference “Ethnography: trends, traverses and traditions”, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, 27-29 August 2014.

Legally sacred and its distortions: shamanism as an unintended consequence (Tuva Republic)”. In the Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Chiba City, Japan, 15-18 May 2014.

Resorting to sorcery: filling in for the failure of the judicial redress in Tuva, Siberia”. In the 11thconference of International Society for Academic Research on Shamanism, Guizhou Normal College. Guyiang, China, 6-9 September 2013.

Greek folk rituals from the perspective of Siberian ethnography”. In “Ghosts and Apparitions in the field: an interdisciplinary workshop”. University of Cambridge, Scott Polar Research Institute, 27 May 2011.

Where official justice ends, theodicy begins: curse accusations and the rise of retaliatory shamanism in Tuva”. In the conference “On Retaliation”, Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg, Germany, 26-29 October 2011.

Post-socialist unhappiness and an epidemic of curse accusations in Kyzyl, Tuva”. In the Annual Meeting of Greek anthropologists. Laboratory of Anthropology, Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini (Greece), November 2008.

Urban shamans and their clients: coping with distress in post-Soviet Siberia”. At the conference “Cultural Environment of the Eastern Siberia and Mongolia”, Ulan-Ude, the Republic of Buryatia, Russian Federation, 14-16 May 2002.

Fieldwork in Jilin Province has been funded by Shandong University (initiative grant, 2012-2015). I have also received grants for attending international conferences.