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Susan J. Rasmussen

Susan J. Rasmussen

Ph.D., Indiana University

McElhinney Hall, Room 258-A


Susan Rasmussen,  Professor of Anthropology within the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies at the University of Houston, has conducted field research in rural and urban Tuareg communities of northern Niger and Mali for approximately thirty years. Her  interests include religion, healing and healing specialists, possession, gender, aging and the life course, verbal art performance, and African humanities. She has written a number of articles and five books. Her published authored books include Spirit Possession and Personhood among the Kel Ewey Tuareg;  The Poetics and Politics of Tuareg Aging; Healing in Community;  Those Who Touch: Tuareg Medicine Women in Anthropological Perspective; and Neighbors, Strangers, Witches, and Culture-Heroes: Ritual Powers of Smith/Artisans in Tuareg Society and Beyond. Current projects include a book manuscript on urban play performances in northern Mali and preliminary research on conversion experiences among African immigrants in France.

Research Interests

  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Aging and the life cycle
  • Medico-rituals and healing specialists
  • Verbal art performance
  • Memory
  • Human rights
  • Africa (Sahara; Sahel; West Africa; North Africa)


Africanist Award for Research Excellence, University of Texas, Austin, March, 2008


  • American Anthropological Association
  • American Ethnological Society
  • The Semiotic Society of America
  • African Studies Association
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • Houston Museum of Fine Arts
  • Amnesty International

Selected Publications

Rasmussen, Susan. Spirit Possession and Personhood among the Kel Ewey Tuareg. N.p.: Cambridge; University Press, 1995.

Rasmussen, Susan. The Poetics and Politics of Tuareg Aging. Northern Illinois University Press, 1997.

Rasmussen, Susan. Healing in Community. N.p.: Bergin & Garvey Press, 2001.

Rasmussen, Susan. Those Who Touch: Tuareg Medicine Women in Anthropological Perspective. Northern Illinois University Press, 2006.

Rasmussen, Susan. (2009). Critically Re-Thinking 'Islamic Dress', The American Journal of Semiotics, vol 25. 1-2 ,pp.1-23.

Rasmussen, Susan. Do Tents and Herds Still Matter, Pastoral Nomadism and Gender, eds., Carolyn Sargent and Caroline Brettel, Prentice Hall Press, pp. 162-174.

Rasmussen, Susan. (2008). The People of Solitude, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 14, pp. 609-627.

Curriculum Vitae