Hillary S. Webb, PhD

Affiliated Faculty

Teaching Philosophy

As a 2006 graduate of the program myself, I have seen and felt firsthand what makes Goddard Graduate Institute such a unique and invaluable experience. This journey into “the heart of the mind” is all at once an encounter with the world and an encounter with the self, one which results in remarkable intellectual/emotional accomplishments that few educational models can equal. Now as a faculty advisor, it is my great joy to assist students forging their own unique academic paths.

As a faculty advisor, I see my main goal as creating a learning environment in which students feel supported and empowered to think both critically and creatively about their chosen topics of study. To that end, I encourage students to bring both courage and flexibility to their work. That is, the courage to candidly present their ideas no matter how “radical” they might seem, while at the same time maintaining the willingness to adapt to new information that arises as well as to the institutional requirements of earning a master’s degree. If you’re my student, you’re very likely going to hear me ask, “What is the question you are trying to answer?” or “What is the problem seeking a solution?” or “What is hidden that requires illumination?” I am committed to helping students continually hone and focus their research so that, by the time they arrive at their G4 semester, they are well positioned to slide effortlessly into the creation of their final product.

As the Goddard Graduate Institute’s Consciousness Studies Concentration coordinator, my primary area of expertise lies in the intersection of disciplines such as anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience. That said, I also very much enjoy working with students focusing on other areas of inquiry. As a former writing coach and editor, I am a solid sounding board for students struggling with how to make their ideas clear and engaging to a non-expert reader. My background in publishing gives me insight that may be useful to students who aspire to eventually publish their work via various publications and/or platforms.


  • PhD in Psychology, Saybrook University
  • MA in Consciousness Studies, Goddard College
  • BA in Journalism, New York University

Areas of Expertise

  • Anthropology: Anthropology of Consciousness, Humanistic Anthropology, Theater Anthropology
  • Psychology: Existential-Humanistic, Jungian, Transpersonal
  • Philosophy:  Existentialism, Idealism, Transhumanism
  • Neuroscience: Sound and the Brain
  • Methodologies: Ethnography, Autoethnography, Phenomenology
  • Writing: Creative Nonfiction, Scholarly/Academic

Meaningful Action in the World

As a writer, researcher, and educator with a focus on the anthropology of consciousness, I have spent the last two decades investigating how individuals from various cultures and sub-cultures make meaning of their existence—often (though not always) with a focus on how they understand, access, and relate to non-ordinary states of consciousness. My research has taken me around the world, from New York City’s underground occult scene to the conflict-resolution strategies of Central Peru; from circus performers in Portland, Maine, grappling with the limits of their own physical potential, to a stand-up comedy club in Berlin, Germany, where I undertook a quest to uncover the secret sauce for creating a state of communitas (“collective joy”) amongst cross-cultural strangers. 

These explorations have resulted in the publication of four books and various articles, essays, and encyclopedia entries. My passion for the subject has led me to work as managing editor of Anthropology of Consciousness journal and as research director of The Monroe Institute, an organization dedicated to studying the link between sound and altered states of consciousness. Both personally and professionally, I take the Goddard Graduate Institute’s commitment to the importance of getting to know one’s subject matter through the lenses of Knowing, Doing, Being very seriously, and continuously use it as a framework in my own research and writing.

Pronouns: She, Her, Hers


Webb, Hillary S. The Friendliest Place in the Universe: Love, Laughter, and Stand-Up Comedy in Berlin. Colorado Springs, CO: University Professors Press, 2022.

Webb, Hillary S. Yanantin and Masintin in the Andean World: Complementary Dualism in Modern Peru. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2012.

Webb, Hillary S. Traveling Between the Worlds: Conversations with Contemporary Shamans. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads, 2004.

Webb, Hillary S. Exploring Shamanism: Using Ancient Rites to Discover the Unlimited Healing Power of Cosmos and Consciousness. Newburyport, MA: New Page Books, 2003.

For a list of articles, essays, and encyclopedia entries, visit my page on academia.edu.

hillary.webb@goddard.edu Website

Affiliation Goddard Graduate Institute
Individualized Master of Arts
MA Health Arts & Sciences

Location Plainfield, Vermont