Extreme Rituals

Coverage of Dimitris Xygalatas’s work in The New Yorker

Maria Konnikova from The New Yorker covers work of UConn Anthropology faculty Dimitris Xygalatas:

pain picture
Pain Really Does Make Us Gain

Last year, Dimitris Xygalatas, the head of the experimental anthropology lab at the University of Connecticut, decided to conduct a curious experiment in Mauritius, during the annual Thaipusam festival, a celebration of the Hindu god Murugan. For the ten days prior to the festival, devotees abstain from meat and sex. As the festival begins, they can choose to show their devotion in the form of several communal rituals…

Dimitris Xygalatas in Aeon Magazine

Dimitris Xygalatas’s recent piece on ritual suffering in Aeon Magazine:

Trial by fire:
From fire-walking to the ice-bucket challenge, ritual pain and suffering forge intense social bonds

On the Day of Ashura, Shia Muslims around the world gather to mourn the Imam, Husayn ibn Ali, and his defeat in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq) in 680AD. They slash their heads and backs using swords or iron chains with blades until the streets are covered in blood…