David Shorter, Professor and Vice Chair
Office: Kaufman 130F
BA Religious Studies with Minor in Women's Studies, Arizona State University (1993)
MA Religious Studies, Arizona State University (1996)
PhD History of Consciousness, University of California Santa Cruz (2002)
Dr. Shorter's first book, We Will Dance Our Truth, evolves from decades of learning about indigenous lifeways, primarily among the Yoeme communities in northwest Mexico.
His research website, Vachiam Eecha/Planting the Seeds, was the first ethnographic website built in collaboration with Yoeme people from various pueblos. Originally designed and "published" in 2003, this site was edited and updated into a second edition in 2012. With support from the National Science Foundation, he has filmed tribal rituals pertaining to both collective and individual healing.
His Wiki for Indigenous Languages project offers a digital alternative for indigenous language revitalization by offering a language translator, wiktionary, games, and social media site to indigenous communities. You can visit that site here:
Dr. Shorter's work explores other-than-human relations and the myths and rituals of native people around the globe. At UCLA, his course on Tribal Worldviews introduces students to these life ways particularly within the lens of globalization and development projects.
In 2011, he received three grants enabling him to start his most recent research, learning from a powerful healer from the tribe in Mexico where he has worked since the early 90's.
Among his favorite classes to teach at UCLA are "Tribal Worldviews," “Ethnographies of/as Colonialism,” "The Art of Being Human: Living the Philosophy of Martin Buber," and "Aliens, Psychics, and Ghosts."
In the fall of 2013, Dr. Shorter released his documentary film, "Lutu Chuktiwa: Cutting the Cord." You can learn more about that film here: