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MIASU Seminar: Joseph Long

When Nov 29, 2016
from 04:30 PM to 06:00 PM
Where Seminar Room, The Mond Building, Free School Lane
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Joseph Long (University of Aberdeen)

Masters, Grandmothers, Indigenes and Incomers: Mediating Migration and Belonging Through Western Buryat Ritual Practice

In Western Buryat communities of Southern Siberia there are formal analogies between ritualised hospitality practiced in the home and collective rites that constitute a relationship of reciprocity with ‘master’ spirits of sacred places. In recent years such ritual practices have been mobilized alongside discourses of indigeneity to agitate for the preservation of sacred places and assert Buryat relations with the land. This paper discusses the ways in which paradigms of hospitality allow a notion of indigeneity to be reconciled with recognition of predecessors on the land as well as a way of mediating relationships between Buryats and more recent settlers.  At the same time, the publicisation of rituals dedicated to ‘grandmother’ spirits offer a chance for Western Buryats migrating within the Baikal region to find precedents in the past movements of women between communities and to establish new relationships to territory and place. The paper will engage with recent returns to the anthropology of hospitality to explore the relational nature of assertions of indigeneity in this context.  Paradigms of reciprocity will also be examined as grounds for intercultural dialogue and the recognition of claims to indigeneity in contemporary Siberia.


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