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Monday, April 7, 2014

The Landscape of Shamanic Knowledge

Anthropologist Benedikte Møller Kristensen lived among the Duha Tuvan reindeer nomads in Northern Mongolia, researching the relation between landscape and shamanic knowledge in post-communist Tuvan society. Duha Tuvans conceive their clan histories and their current problems through the landscape, and they continually create and re-invent the landscape through cosmological symbols, narratives and ritualized experience of space. In spite of violent repression during communist rule, shamanism among Tuvan people has survived up until today, and is now increasing in the Mongolian forests and in the Tuvan cities. The key to its viability seems to be the flexibility inherent in shamanism, where knowledge gained through ritual engagement with spirits in the landscape, rather than a strict cosmological doctrine, is seen as the core of shamanism. Shamanic knowledge of the landscape is used to confront, understand and challenge the turbulent changes which are taking place in this corner of the post-Soviet world. Read more.

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