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David Shorter


Contact Information

Email    shorter ucla edu
Office  Kaufman 130F
Phone  310-206-6699

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.

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 "Indigenous Worldviews," “Ethnographies of/as Colonialism,” "The Art of Being Human: Living the Philosophy of Martin Buber," and "Aliens, Psychics, and Ghosts." 

Dr. Shorter is currently completing two new digital publications based on his continuing fieldwork with the Yoeme tribal members in Mexico and the United States.  Please see the "News!" page to read about his language revitalization work.  Shorter also co-edits (with Dr. Randolph Lewis) a book series on Indigenous film and film-making.  In the fall of 2013, he released his first ethnographic film, "Lutu Chuktiwa" (See "Film" tab on this site).  Over the next year, he will be compiling his personal experiences with paranormal studies into a book-length memoir, which should be available in 2015.


B.A. Religious Studies with Minor in Women's Studies, Arizona State University (1993)

M.A. Religious Studies, Arizona State University (1996)

Ph.D. History of Consciousness, University of California Santa Cruz (2002)