Columbia University Seminar on Brazil by Emily Pierini: “Trance-formative therapeutic experiences in the Vale do Amanhecer” 





Speaker: Emily Pierini, Assistant Professor, Sapienza University of Rome


Title: “Trance-formative therapeutic experiences in the Vale do Amanhecer” 

Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2022  

Time: 7:00 PM (EST) 9:00 PM (Brasília Time, Brazil).

PS: Please note that we will not be able to open the session to those on Zoom until 7:00 PM (EST).


Place: Faculty House, Columbia University and on Zoom

Faculty House's address: Columbia University,  64 Morningside Dr, New York, NY 10027.  For more direction details, click here. 

0n Zoom (to receive the link the day of the meeting email


This seminar addresses ‘trance-formative therapeutic experiences’, namely, how mediumistic trance is learned for therapeutic purposes fostering a transformation. It calls for an attention to the process of learning spirit mediumship, comparing experiences across the Atlantic between Brazil, the US, and Europe, and also across the spiritual and biomedical domains. It refers in particular to the transnational spread of the Brazilian Christian Spiritualism of the Vale do Amanhecer (Valley of the Dawn) and the development of what mediums describe as ‘mediumistic trance’. The mediums’ narratives of their therapeutic itineraries highlight two levels of movement: one between different therapeutic domains; and the other one unfolds through the phenomenology of mediumistic trance, and is sensorial, imaginal, and affective. The experiences of those who undergo mediumistic training show how besides spreading in Europe through transnational religions these practices are also to be understood as embedded in a growing network of therapeutic practices. This demands to overcome some conceptualizations of spirit mediumship and possession as being individual psychic phenomena or marginal practices belonging to some distant otherness. Instead, this seminar proposes to tackle them along with contemporary therapeutic practices operating besides the biomedical field, and so in relation to both spiritual and therapeutic networks.

Brazil Seminar Co-Chairs: John Collins, Sid Greenfield, Diana Brown, and Vânia Penha-Lopes

Seminar to be held jointly with the University Seminars on Studies in Religion and Contents and Methods in the Social Science