Workshop "Identity, Ontology, and Fieldwork through the Lens of Northeast India" on July 3, 2015
This small workshop explores identity and ontology among ethnic populations in Northeast India (Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh + China/Mongolia) with attention to the role of the fieldworker within these religious landscapes. Papers will address indigenous articulations of the self and the non-human in relation to death rituals, oral narratives, and identity formation in the context of local and national infrastructures. The workshop will conclude with a roundtable discussion focusing on the liminal spaces that global researchers often come to occupy while living and working in the field.
The venue for the event is Ülikooli 16 - 212.
Living Relationships with the Dead
10.00 Margaret Lyngdoh (University of Tartu): Propitiating the Returning Dead among the Lyngngam Khasi, Meghalaya
10.30 Claire Scheid (National University of Ireland, University College Cork): Desires of the Recently Dead: Burial Rituals and ‘Post-Human’ Possession among the Adi, Arunachal Pradesh
11.00 Laur Järv (University of Tartu) From Life to Death to the Next Life in Tibetan Buddhism
11.30 Coffee break
Identity and Narrative in Assam
12.00 Giturani Kalita (Gauhati University): Sanskritization and Ethnic Crisis in the Context of Assam: A Case Study of Sarania Kachari Community
12.30 Debajit Sharma (Gauhati University): Influence of Namghar in the Genesis of Assamese Identity Formation: A Reflection
13.00 Bijoy Sankar Barman (Gauhati University): Reflection of Woman in the Rabha and the Karbi Myths of Assam
15.00 Claire Scheid (National University of Ireland, University College Cork): From Nothingness: Non-Human Lineages and Spirit Genealogies in Adi Oral Narratives
16.00 Debajit Sharma (Gauhati University): Use of Visual Medium as a Dissemination of Knowledge: A Journey through Folklore in the Assamese Context
16.30 Coffee break
17.00 – 18.30
Conflicted Encounters and Liminal Identities: Locating the Researcher in the Field
Led by Merili Metsvahi
This roundtable discussion will consider ethical, practical, and emotional dilemmas faced by fieldworkers documenting different ontologies (in India and elsewhere).
This Workshop is supported by European Social Fund’s Doctoral Studies and Internationalization Programme DoRa.