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Beyond Wild and Tame
Soiot Encounters in a Sentient Landscape
Alex C. Oehler
214 pages, 32 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-678-4 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (April 2020)
eISBN 978-1-78920-679-1 eBook
CHOICE OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC TITLE 2020
“This book challenges earlier assumptions of a sharp dichotomy between hunter and pastoral lifestyles and differences between tame and wild animals. Built on the best practices of ethnographic fieldwork among indigenous societies in Siberia, Oehler’s work transcends local studies in contributing to a broader understanding of the complex gradation between untamed nature and ecosystems managed by humans. Of undoubted value to students of modern ecology and ancient traditions alike...Highly recommended.” • Choice
“Beyond Wild & Tame contributes to the burgeoning anthropological literature on the communicative webs binding humans and other species, reframing the seeming essence of the domestic as merely a moment in changing, processual relations. In this manner, the text accomplishes one of the key, needful tasks of good ethnography: it denaturalises a Western term whose meaning has become taken for granted." • Inner Asia
“This is a fine monograph… Through his skillful incorporation of ethnographic examples, [the author] illustrates how it is simplistic to categorise relationships with domestic animals into dichotomous categories of either wild or tame.” • Natasha Fijn, Australian National University
“Beyond Wild and Tame contributes to an in-depth reflection on the way humans and animals share a common environment, more than ever needed, in the era of the Anthropocene.” • Charlotte Marchina, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales
Responding to recent scholarship, this book examines animal domestication and offers a Soiot approach to animals and landscapes, which transcends the wild-tame dichotomy. Following herder-hunters of the Eastern Saian Mountains in southern Siberia, the author examines how Soiot and Tofa households embrace unpredictability, recognize sentience, and encourage autonomy in all their relations with animals, spirits, and land features. It is an ethnography intended to help us reinvent our relations with the earth in unpredictable times.
Alex C. Oehler is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Northern British Columbia, Canada. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming book Multispecies Households in the Saian Mountains: Ecology at the Russia-Mongolia Border (Lexington Books) and was a member of the research team of the Arctic Domus project (2012-2016) at the University of Aberdeen.
Subject: Environmental Studies (General)
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