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Department of Social Anthropology



My doctoral research focuses on the technologies of memory employed in the mortuary ritual of the Bororo, an Indigenous people living in the margins of the Central-Brazilian Plateau. In contrast to many other Amerindian peoples, whose dealings with death and the dead have been famously portrayed as an effort to sever kinship ties through oblivion, the Bororo mortuary cycle can be described as a technology for remembering. By means of strict ritual conditions, the Bororo repeatedly and collectively remake kinship with the recently deceased –  that is, those who are within reach of memory. These ritual conditions produce an aesthetics of memory, wherein a complex interplay of senses involving display, concealment, and the construction of soundscapes through singing and ritual wailing compels memory and protects the living from the risks of making kinship with the dead.

Research Title: An aesthetics of memory in indigenous Central Brazil: an ethnography of the Bororo mortuary ceremonies.
Supervisor: Dr Rupert Stasch
J Kelmer

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