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IUAES 2013: Evolving Humanity, Emerging Worlds. 5-10 August 2013.

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Evolving humanity, emerging worlds

Manchester, UK; 5th-10th August 2013

(SE30)

Cultural regeneration, institutional creativity and social transformations in contemporary indigenous worlds

Location University Place 3.209
Date and Start Time 09 Aug, 2013 at 09:00

Convenors

Sabine Jell-Bahlsen (Ogbuide Films) email
Ananta Kumar Giri (Madras Inst of Development Studies) email
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Short Abstract

Our panel deals with movements of regeneration, creativity and transformations in contemporary indigenous worlds.

Long Abstract

Indigenous peoples have bee subjected varieties of assaults and violence, especially during the process of colonization, evangelization and etatization of the globe. Forces of colonialism and evangelism have destroyed their religions, traditions and institutions. In this place of ravage and destruction there have been several movements of cultural regeneration and institutional creativity in the contemporary world. We find this in several new spiritual, religious and political movements. For example, in the face of Christianization and Hinduization of their faith, belief and religious systems, indigenous people around the world are striving to find their own roots of faith, belief and spirituality. We find this in various movements in India, China, Africa, Latin America and around the world. For example, in Arunachala Pradesh, India, there is a movement called Dani Polo which seeks to revive the indigenous faith tradition of the tribals. Along with such movements of cultural and spiritual regeneration, there are also political movements which experiment with news forms of political organization and coordination other than the overwhelming apparatus of the modern state. We find glimpses of this in the Zapatista movement in the Chiapas, Mexico. Our panel wants to explore such movements of creativity and transformations

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Indigeneity Discourse and Tribal Religions of India

Author: Nava Kishor Das (Anthropological Survey of India)  email
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Short Abstract

In India the study of tribal religion is neglected. Colonial and post-colonial anthropologists alike described ‘tribal religion’ in terms of a set of ‘primitive values’ surviving in Hindu religion in India, ignoring the basic concepts and practices of the tribespeople. Recent trends suggest the revival of elements of tribal religion by those who had adopted ‘other’ religions. Our case studies will include some belief systems from eastern India and some from eastern Himalaya region, particularly shamanistic religions of Sikkim besides discussing the Donyi-Polo, Haraka, Sanamahi, Bodo and such other religious systems.

Long Abstract

There is urgent need to place theory of indigeneity in wider context and from native perspective. The essentialising of culture and notions of cultural purity and 'authenticity' are dismissed in post-modern-anthropology. In India the study of tribal religion is neglected. Colonial and post-colonial anthropologists alike described 'tribal religion' in terms of a set of 'primitive values' surviving in Hindu religion in India, ignoring the basic concepts and practices of the tribespeople. Recent trends suggest the revival of elements of tribal religion by those who had adopted 'other' religions. Today old theories such as "Sanskitization" and "spread in Hinduism" models and "acculturation" theory do not help us to comprehend indigenous religions. In country like India in stead of seeing the reality in terms of polarized identity there is need for recognizing the pluralist culture. New vision has emerged in post-modern anthropology in which syncretic processes are considered basic to religion. Syncretism is a term, which in comparative religion refers to a process of religious amalgamation, of blending heterogeneous beliefs and practices. Our studies reveal that the processes of culture change and syncretism have been at work at various levels, depending on nature of contact with other cultures and languages. Our case studies will include some belief systems from eastern India and some from eastern Himalaya region, particularly shamanistic religions of Sikkim besides discussing the Donyi-Polo, Haraka, Sanamahi, Bodo and such other religious systems.

Going for Job, Worshiping Ancestors, Rewriting History - Socioeconomic Transformations and the (Re-)Creation of Tribal Identity Among South Indian Badagas

Author: Jens Zickgraf (Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU), Munich)  email
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Short Abstract

The paper presents ethnographic material from the South Indian Badagas. It combines a view on social change and active market-participation with several modern aspects of identity creation.

Long Abstract

The Badagas are a peasant society living in the South Indian Nilgiris District. Notably, during colonization they have quickly adopted new economic opportunities, switched to cash-crop production and abandoned traditional barter relations with other local tribes. With formerly British-introduced tea becoming their major plantation crop in the second half of the 20th century, the Badagas did not only manage to establish and control a large smallholder sector (including own factories) that by now accounts for more than three quarters of the local tea-produce, but also started to invest in education and to gradually diversify their economic activities into modern forms of employment and entrepreneurship. Starting from 1998 a long-term tea crisis has added further dimensions in terms of rampant land-sales and increased labour-migration. The consequences are manifold and include above all a geographical spread and internal social differentiation of the Badagas as well as a clear shift of economic power from the older to the younger generation. Observing these developments, the paper discusses the formation of new Badaga-Associations in India's Urban centres, the contemporary relevance of ancestral worship, the symbolism of temple-taxes, donations and in-town processions as well as the emergence of an increased number of indigenous book publications and other self-representations both as modern aspects of identity creation and against the background of a long term struggle of the Badagas to re-gain the political, social and economic status of a tribal community.

Cultural Regeneration, Institutional Creativity and Social Transformations: Contemporary Challenges of Theory and Practice

Author: Ananta Kumar Giri (Madras Inst of Development Studies)  email
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Short Abstract

The paper discusses contemporary movements of cultural regeneration and institutional creativity around the world. It discusses theoretical and practical issues in understanding cultural regeneration and institutional creativity

Long Abstract

The paper presents a broad theoretical framework for understanding cultural regeneration and institutional creativity in our contemporary world. As a co-organizer of this panel I discuss some of the broader theoretical issues involved in this field as a prelude to discussion of specific papers in this session. It also discusses contemporary cultural crises and many-sided movements for recovery

Owu. Negotiating Life, Past, Present and Future

Author: Sabine Jell-Bahlsen (Ogbuide Films)  email
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Short Abstract

The Owu masking tradition of the Igbo people of South Eastern Nigeria is a spiritually motivated prolific art form and cultural mechanism that negotiates life, gender, social intgration, and identity. It addresses universal human issues and appropriates modernity.

Long Abstract

This paper reflects on my repeat encounters with the Owu-Okoroshi masquerade and festival among the riverine Igbo of South Eastern Nigeria 1979-2009. Today, masquerades are demonized byvarious Churches, but the Owufestival is a cornerstone for integrating society (Azogu) and also a part of the indigenous echatology (Achebe). While some masks and shrines are being destroyed, others are still florishing. Their multifarious artistic spectacles are timed festivals with performances that continue to entertain, celebrate,teach, satyrize, expose, challenge and negotiate contemporary life in the oil-rich Niger delta.

Language awareness in language and teaching

Authors: Lucy Apakama (Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education)  email
Peace-Val Eze (Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education)  email
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Short Abstract

to follow

Long Abstract

The use of language in the transmission of culture and cultural values of a people cannot be over emphasized. Language is a major means of identity. In a situation where a people face the threat of extinction of their language calls for immediate action. An appraisal of the state of the Igbo language, one of the major Nigerian languages is in focus here and the efforts of otu suwakwa Igbo (a society for the promotion of the speaking of the Igbo language) are reviewed. Language acquisition starts form birth and where this is neglected, the child loses focus; the problem of the Igbo child of today. A review of related literature was made and a survey method was used to collect data. Here structured questionnaires were constructed for those who are literate in Igbo language while oral interviews using the same questionnaires were used for illiterate ones. Responses were tape recorded and analyzed. It was found out that this group is one of the numerous groups in the business of promoting Igbo

language and culture. Despite their efforts, the Igbo language still faces numerous problems and suggested solutions to these problems form the last part of this paper. If nothing is done to salvage this language, all the rich cultural heritage of a people will be lost.

Co-author: Peace-Val Chinomnso Eze

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Sponsors

Wenner-Gren Visit Manchester ASA RAI Manchester University