The Monpas and Apatanis of Arunachal Pradesh. Himalayan Communities at the Sino-Indian Border

19.01.2018 15:15 - 16:45

Stefano Beggiora | Università Ca’Foscari Venezia, Dipartimento di Studi sull’Asia e sull’Africa Mediterranea

The area stretching from Tawang to Lower Subansiri in Arunachal Pradesh, the North-Eastern frontier of India, is a territory with a high density of tribal populations. At these cultural crossroads, the authority and charisma of religious figures, such as brahmins, pujaris, lamas, oracles and shamans, is mutually acknowledged within their communities. This lecture presents a study of the local shamanistic and animistic traditions, which possess a complex hierarchical grid of magico-religious ritualism. It will focus in particular on the Monpa and Apatani ethnic groups.

The presentation is based on my ethnographic research and summarizes some of the results of the anthropological fieldwork I carried out in the area. Adopting an emic perspective, I participated actively in the rituals and interviewed numerous tribal pujaris. In conclusion I make some suggestions concerning the theoretical approach to the study of nationalism and ethnicity and analyze how ongoing transformations have distorted the local religious heritage by transforming it into a sort of socio-political identity platform. Some short clips from the archival footage of my ethnographic research will be shown.

Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
Seminarraum 1, Bereich Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde, AAKH, Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2.7, 1090 Wien