© Copyright 2019. Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness

Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness

Officer Biographies

David Miller (Ph.D., Brown University, 1993); Positions Held: Adjunct Associate Professor and Instructor (2001-present) University of Rhode Island; Director, Academic Computing and Distance Learning (1997-1999), Bristol Community College; Visiting Assistant Professor (1994 – 1996), Brown University; Postdoctoral Fellow (1992-1994), Department of Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin. Interests and/or Activities: Comparative unconscious phenomena, Cognitive archaeology, Liminal states of consciousness; Significant Publications: Multicultural Aspects of Cognition and Learning, with K. Quina, in J. Mena & K. Quina (Eds.), Teaching a Multiculturally-Informed Psychology of People (American Psychological Association), 2017; Research into basic color terms, in Hardin, C.L. (Ed.), Color Categories in Thought and Language, 1997; Mapping of the human visual cortex utilizing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), with E. A. DeYoe & J. Neitz, Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 1993.


I have been gratified by the reception of my presentations at SAC on topics on the universality of visual processes across time and cultures and liminal states of sleep and dreaming, and I am looking forward to presenting at SAC 2016. The work my colleagues at SAC are doing is stimulating and I see synergies between my early work in perception and cognition and their work. The many voices in SAC have expanded my understanding of experiential ways of knowing in important directions and informed the evolution of my work and teaching. Throughout my adult life I have served as a volunteer on boards and committees for a variety of nonprofit and academic organizations. I understand the importance of learning the ropes, maintaining open communications, engaging in the practical logistics and doing the hard work of an organization; I can offer particular strengths in teamwork, communication, and strategic planning. I would like to build on the unique history and strengths of SAC to take greater advantage of opportunities to expand outreach to kindred people and groups who share common interests.


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Andrew Gurevich (MA, Portland State University, 2002) Positions Held: Professor of World Religion and World Literature (2002-Pres) Mt. Hood Community College; Professor of Literature and Composition (2006-Pres) Chemeketa Community College; Director of Media and Content Development (1998-2002) Indeworks Media; Interests and/or Activities: mythology, quantum mechanics, film, entheogens; Significant Publications: “Forgotten Wisdom of the Chauvet Cave: The Sacred Feminine and the (Re)birth of Culture,” Popular Archaeology, 2013; “50 Shades of Gaia,” The Ecologist, 2013; “The Sacred Marriage of Visible Logos & Epigenetic Consciousness: A Paradigm for a New Humanity,” Reality Sandwich, 2012.


I am interested in exploring patterns of recognition within human consciousness that facilitate and expand states of empathic distress and mytho-cultural interconnectivity. My work integrates archetypes from literature, philosophy and theology with recent findings in neuropsychology, consciousness studies and quantum mechanics to explore how neuro-mythological structures underscored the development of spiritual awareness. I believe the notions of non-locality and downward causation have much to teach us about the origin and nature of consciousness and when properly understood can help to trigger right hemispheric states of ecological balance and sociological equanimity.  


My desire to discover and connect with the sacred feminine began early in life due to a troubled relationship with my mother and has led me to research the Goddess archetype in the earliest human religious traditions dating back some 800,000 years. I study eco-feminism, world religions, entheogens and the resacralization of nature through the transformation of consciousness from “ownership” models to those of “kinship.” I believe that anthropology, and in particular the anthropology of consciousness, is uniquely situated to weave together the disparate scholastic threads into a unified image of human emergence and creative potential that can heal the existential rift that has plagued our species for millennia.


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Bryan Randolph Rill (PhD, Florida State University, 2011) Positions Held: Assistant Professor, (2013-Pres) Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Visiting Assistant Professor, (2012-2013) Florida State University; Executive Board Member, (2006-2008, 2012-Pres) Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness; Associate Editor (2008-2012) Anthropology of Consciousness; Board of Directors (2004) Broward County Archaeological Society; Interests and Activities: Organizational Transformation, Music Production, Design Psychology; Significant Publications: Resonant Co-Creation as an Approach to Innovation, Journal of Organizational Change Management, in Press; Cultivating Spiritual Power and Health in Contemporary Japan, PhD Thesis, FSU, 2011; Identity Discourses on the Dance Floor, Anthropology of Consciousness, 2010.


The Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness provides a space for scholars and practitioners to share their experiences, teachings, and traditions in forum that is enthusiastically open and intellectually critical. As a member for the past 15 years, I have witnessed the study of consciousness in all its forms across cultures grow from what was once considered the margins of anthropology to a central discourse of our time. In my own work I have examined the altered consciousness in the electronic dance music subculture, a context that has proven to be a ripe ground for the origination of new types of spirituality and lifestyle. I have lived and learned Shugendo, an ascetic practice that engenders spiritual power and health in contemporary Japan. Currently I work to catalyze human potential into transformative change by designing co-creative experiences. In a time where old systems of power have taken our species near a self-destructive brink, I aim to be part of the transformation of consciousness necessary for us to rebalance life with an eco-centered awareness. Whorf argued over a half century ago that the future of humanity lies in part with enhancing our knowledge of consciousness.


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Mark W. Flanagan (MA, Georgia State University, 2012; MSW, MPH, University of Georgia, 2015); Positions Held Research Assistant (2013-2015) University of Georgia; Program Assistant (2014) Bread for Life; Development Associate (2012-2013) Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture; Instructor, (2011) Georgia State University;  Interests and Activities: neuroanthropology, substance abuse, homelessness. Significant Publications: Ethnographic analysis of drug abuse and recovery among homeless adults and a multilevel drug abuse resiliency tool, Qualitative Social Work, 2015 (under review); Book Review: Conducting Substance Use Research, Research on Social Work Practice, 2014; “Where There is No Love, Put Love”: Homeless Addiction Recovery Perspectives and Ways to Enhance Healing, thesis at Georgia State University, 2012; Argument for a Cultural Theory of Drinking and Compulsion via a Multi-Cohort Comparison, thesis, University of Notre Dame, 2010.; Heavy Drinkers, Meet Soft Science, Neuroanthropology: For a Greater Understanding of the Encultured Brain and Body, 2010.


I seek to focus on promoting a diverse environment within SAC where academic, experiential and practical consciousness anthropology can thrive together. Academic consciousness anthropology is central in creating and disseminating new knowledge.  Experiential consciousness anthropology sets SAC apart from other sections and allows us to explore more basic ways of knowing.  Practical consciousness anthropology is a burgeoning discipline, with fields like neuroanthropology solving real world problems in highly sophisticated ways.  By promoting all of these forms of consciousness anthropology, I believe SAC will be a richer, stronger organization able to respond to ever changing discipline landscape. I also aim to promote interdisciplinary perspectives within SAC. Understanding human consciousness is increasingly recognized as a central component in maximizing the effective practical application of such fields as medicine, social welfare, and public health.  A central goal of mine is to promote interdisciplinary collaboration by continuing the tradition of reaching out to non-anthropologists at our annual meetings, and creating new traditions of cross-discipline writing, research and practice.  


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Sharon G. Mijares, Ph.D., is a graduate of the Union Institute. Her research “Fragmented Self, Archetypal Forces and the Embodied Mind, focused on trauma and somatic consciousness. Sharon is a visiting professor at the UN University for Peace, Associate Faculty at National University, Core Faculty at the California Institute for Human Science and Adjunct Faculty at Brandman University. She is the author/editor of six books focused on psychological and spiritual development. Her last book (edited) A Force Such As the World Has Never Known brought women together from around the planet to share their concerns and efforts to better their communities and the world. The second edition of her first edited book, Modern Psychology and Ancient Wisdom: Psychological Healing Practices from the World’s Religious Traditions brings experts representing various religious and spiritual traditions together to demonstrate deep transformative practices inherent within spiritual practices. Her own chapters discussed the Nature-based traditions, Goddess and Shamanism. She has earned Shodan rank in Aikido, and has also led workshops to empower women in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Mexico, Scotland, Uganda, United States and Venezuela. On a personal level she is a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and currently lives in Nevada City, CA. For more info see www.psychospiritual.org


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Beth Savage (MA, SUNY Buffalo, 2003) Positions Held: Adjunct Lecturer in Anthropology (2002-2011) Buffalo State College; Anthropology Department Web Master (2002, 2003-2006) SUNY Buffalo; Adjunct Assistant Professor in Religious Studies (2002) Canisius College; Adjunct COPACE Instructor (1996-2000) Clark University; Interests and/or Activities: New Religious Movements, epistemology, power, on-line culture. Significant Publications:  “With the Kindred by our Sides”: Rebuilding Multi-layered Religious Identities at Conflicts in Identity, Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Symposium at SUNY Buffalo, 2011, invited session on Writing Shamanism Today in Theory and Practice at the AAA Annual Meeting, 2007, invited session on Shamanism and the Modern World Part 2: Atavism or Re-Emergence? at the Society for the Anthropology of Religion Biannual Meeting, 2007.


The study of consciousness brings us to the border between the arts and sciences, challenging us to unite theories, methods, and research strategies from both areas. This makes it both a wide-ranging field and one which encourages us to reexamine our conceptions of anthropology itself. My current research explores the world of modern neo-paganism to search for responses to questions of epistemology and ontology, and how these become “truth”. I focus on how this is demonstrated through issues of power, legitimation, and the interrelationship of practice and structure. After the tragic loss of our long-time secretary/treasurer, Amy Smith, I stepped in to fill the position until the next election. In that short time, I have learned a great deal about the important work that SAC does. I look forward to continuing and expanding those services.


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