Browsing by Subject "ANTHROPOLOGY"

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  • Teppo, Annika (2013)
  • Siragusa, Laura; Zhukova, Ol'ga Yu (2021)
    This article undermines the actuality of a strict boundary between language and materiality by presenting verbal charms (puheged, vajhed/pakitas in Vepsian) among Veps, an Indigenous minority group of Northwest Russia. Vepsian verbal charms are ritualizedways of speaking that are customarily used to prompt a change in both human beings and environments in very tangibleways. When observing how they are conceived, distributed, and performed among Veps, the rigid separation between "material" and "immaterial" realms begins to be felt as an artificial construction, since Veps understand that in the act of "blowing" air accompanied by the recitation of "specificwords," human and often non-human agencies join forces to promote changes in people and the environment. This paper engages not onlywith the academic interest in the material intersections between language and the world (see, Cavanaugh and Shankar 2017; Keane 2008a; Wiener 2013, to name a few), but also aims to reframe the notion of "event" as a transformative and suspended encounter between human and often non-human agencies (Kapferer 2015) and thus deepen our understanding of what living relationally might entail.
  • Siragusa, Laura; Westman, Clinton; Moritz, Sarah (2020)
    We introduce and elaborate on the notion of "shared breath" as a way of understanding human and nonhuman copresence and offer descriptions and narratives about three Indigenous groups in Russia and Canada, namely, Veps, Western Woods Cree, and Interior Salish St'at'imc. These data illustrate vividly how the underused metaphor of shared breath sheds light on active participation in life by and respectful relations with nonhuman beings, thus surpassing other overly used spatial, physical, and spiritual metaphors. We move beyond the physical aspects of discrete spaces and materials in extending consideration to pertinent metaphorical and tangible aspects of the verbal, sonorous, and ritual performances undertaken by humans in order to negotiate and reinforce relations with other beings. Relationality is continuously accommodated and regenerated by human and nonhuman agencies through ritual acts that include blowing, chants, breathing, drumming, visualizing, and smoking. The shared breath through which these encounters take place emblematizes turning moments, when new directions may be taken and long-term relations of respect may be established, validated, and reinforced. Shared breath is both a medium and a modality of shamanic and animist relationality, offering a new way of looking at human-nonhuman contact and exchange in animist ritual contexts and beyond.