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Piers Vitebsky studied ancient languages before becoming an anthropologist. He continues to conduct long-term fieldwork in tribal India and northeastern Siberia, where he specialises in shamanism, indigenous psychology and subsistence ecology (shifting cultivation in the tropics, reindeer herding in the Arctic). His books include Dialogues with the dead: the discussion of mortality among the Sora of eastern India (Cambridge University Press 1993) and The shaman (Little, Brown 1995). A film of his fieldwork, entitled Siberia -- after the shaman, was made for Britain's Channel 4 TV and won first prize at the annual film festival of the European Foundation for the Environment in 1993. Piers Vitebsky is Head of Social Sciences at the Scott Polar Research Institute in the University of Cambridge.


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