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Jul 20

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Dangerous Spirits: the Windigo in Myth and History

Dangerous Spirits, forthcoming from Heritage House.

Dangerous Spirits, forthcoming from Heritage House.

I have a new book forthcoming this fall with Heritage House press, a great Canadian publisher. Here is my the back-cover blurb on the work:

In the traditional Algonquian world, the windigo is the spirit of selfishness and winter, which can transform a person into a murderous cannibal. Native peoples over a vast stretch of North America—from Virginia in the south to Labrador in the north, from Nova Scotia in the east to Minnesota in the west—believed in the windigo, not only as a myth told in the darkness of winter, but also as a real danger.

Drawing on oral narratives, fur traders’ journals, trial records, missionary accounts, and anthropologists’ field notes, this book is a revealing glimpse into indigenous beliefs, cross-cultural communication, and embryonic colonial relationships. It also ponders the recent resurgence of the windigo in popular culture and its changing meaning in a modern context.

In the traditional Algonquian world, the windigo is the spirit of selfishness, which can transform a person into a murderous cannibal. Native peoples over a vast stretch of North America—from Virginia in the south to Labrador in the north, from Nova Scotia in the east to Minnesota in the west—believed in the windigo, not only as a myth told in the darkness of winter, but also as a real danger.

Drawing on oral narratives, fur traders’ journals, trial records, missionary accounts, and anthropologists’ field notes, this book is a revealing glimpse into indigenous beliefs, cross-cultural communication, and embryonic colonial relationships. It also ponders the recent resurgence of the windigo in popular culture and its changing meaning in a modern context.

– See more at: http://www.heritagehouse.ca/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781772030327#sthash.89GXI7Bt.dpuf

In the traditional Algonquian world, the windigo is the spirit of selfishness, which can transform a person into a murderous cannibal. Native peoples over a vast stretch of North America—from Virginia in the south to Labrador in the north, from Nova Scotia in the east to Minnesota in the west—believed in the windigo, not only as a myth told in the darkness of winter, but also as a real danger.

Drawing on oral narratives, fur traders’ journals, trial records, missionary accounts, and anthropologists’ field notes, this book is a revealing glimpse into indigenous beliefs, cross-cultural communication, and embryonic colonial relationships. It also ponders the recent resurgence of the windigo in popular culture and its changing meaning in a modern context.

– See more at: http://www.heritagehouse.ca/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781772030327#sthash.89GXI7Bt.dpuf

Update: The print version of the book is now available in Canada. The book is also available in Kindle in the United States and Canada, as well as other formats such as Google Play BooksNookKobo and iBooks. The print launch for the United States is set for April 2015.

The second edition of our textbook with UNC will also be coming out in January 2015. Kim Brown and I have worked hard to edit it, based on feedback from faculty and our own experiences using the text. We have changed the political globalization chapter, to include a case study on Antarctica. The energy chapter has been almost entirely rewritten, and not includes a major section on fracking. We’ve also reorganized the chapter order, so that security comes later in the text. In addition to these and other changes, we’re also completely updating the on-line teacher’s manual, which will be available by December. Thanks to everyone who has used this text, and to the many people who have shared feedback.

Shawn Smallman, Portland State University

Permanent link to this article: https://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2014/07/dangerous-spirits-the-windigo-in-myth-and-history/