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TORRI Davide

Postdoctoral research associate

Contact :

Research Topic

Patterns of interaction between shamanism and Buddhism in the Himalayas

Research experience

Davide Torri completed his PhD in Anthropology/History of Religions in 2009 at the University of Naples L’Orientale (Italy). His doctoral dissertation is entitled Il Lama e il Bombo. Sciamanismo e Buddhismo tra gli Hyolmo del Nepal (The Lama and the Bombo. Shamanism and Buddhism among the Hyolm of Nepal). He then worked as a lecturer at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester (UK) until 2013, where he organised courses and seminars on the Anthropology of Religions, an Introduction to Hinduism and Buddhism, Religious Minorities in the European Union, etc. Since 2013 he has been a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” at the University of Heidelberg (Germany) where he has held seminars on Himalayan Religions, Religion and Violence in the Himalayas, Himalayan Conceptions of the Afterlife, Religious Rebellions in Asia 1850-1950, Lamas, Shamans and Oracles. Religious Encounters in the Himalayas, etc. within the M.A. Transcultural Studies programme.

In the course of his studies and research Davide Torri has carried out fieldwork in Nepal, India and Mongolia, focusing on the ongoing process of mutual influences and exchanges between certain forms of Buddhism and shamanism. More specifically, he has done research over a number of years among the Hyolmo of Helambu (Nepal). His research interests also include topics such as conflict, sacred landscapes and the human/non-human interface.


- shamanism
- Buddhism
- possession
- conflict
- landscape
- non-human

Fieldwork :

- India (Western Bengal, Sikkim, Ladakh)
- Nepal (Helambu)

Main publications :

- Landscape, Ritual and Identity among the Hyolmo of Nepal. London 2017 (forthcoming).
- Il lama e il bombo. Tradizioni sciamaniche e buddhismo presso gli Hyolmo del Nepal. Rome 2014.
- (with Diana Riboli, eds.) : Shamanism and Violence. Power, Repression and Suffering in Indigenous Religious Conflicts. Farnham 2013.

Recent papers

- “Sacred and Alive : Human, Non-human and Landscape in the (Buddhist) Himalayas” at the workshop “Shamanism and Eco-cosmology - A cross-cultural perspective”, Panteion University, Athens (Greece). 27-28 April 2017

- Participation in a round table “Heritage in Times of Crisis : Transcultural Approaches to Reconstruction and Revaluation in Post-Earthquake Nepal” at the annual conference “Making, Sustaining, Breaking – The Politics of Heritage and Culture”, of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context", University of Heidelberg. 12-14 November 2016
- “From periphery to centre : Hyolmo society between local and translocal influences” at the workshop “Religious Authority beyond the Nation”, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester, Manchester. 27 April 2016

- “Buddhism and Shamanism among the Hyolmo of Nepal” at the workshop “Spirited Dharma : Exploring Possession in Asian Buddhist Traditions”, SOAS, London. 5 December 2015
- “The Importance of Being a Beyul : Landscape, Buddhism, Shamanism and Identity among the Nepal’s Hyolmo” at the conference “Religious Revivals and Artistic Renaissance in Central Asia and the Himalayan Region — Past and Present”, Fourth International SEECHAC colloquium, University of Heidelberg. 16 -18 November 2015.
- “Losing Ground, Moving Forward. Hyolmo shamanism and the negotiation over space, landscape and ritual” at the ISARS conference “Sacred Landscapes and Conflict Transformation. History, Space, Place and Power in Shamanism”, European Cultural Centre of Delphi (ECCD), (Greece). 9-13 October 2015