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Non-Humans in Amerindian South America: Ethnographies of Indigenous Cosmologies, Rituals and Songs

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Volume 37

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Non-Humans in Amerindian South America

Ethnographies of Indigenous Cosmologies, Rituals and Songs

Edited by Juan Javier Rivera Andía

396 pages, 24 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-097-3 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (November 2018)

ISBN  978-1-80073-445-6 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (June 2022)

eISBN 978-1-78920-098-0 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“After reading and rereading the [authors’] contributions I think it is a wonderful collection. They succeed remarkably well in being mutually enlightening…Each of them brings individually different theoretical resources and intellectual trajectories to bear on the issues they deal with that add up to a fascinating multifarious whole. To cap it all, the editor has written a very valuable and extended introduction. He is an excellent guide in what he calls ‘a rather bewildering intellectual landscape’.” • Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale

“As we can see, this beautiful work shows, with a wealth of ethnographic details relating to multiple combinations and recompositions, to which prolonged contact between native American and modern civilizations gave rise, how the debate on ontologies and humans / non-humans relations cannot be satisfied through simplifying and homogenizing formulas.” • L’Homme

“The well-written contributions provide a panorama of ethnographies focussing on the relationship between humans and nonhumans in different South American indigenous societies… On the whole, this is a carefully edited volume providing the readers with new insights in the mythical and religious thought as well as the ritual life of contemporary South American indigenous peoples.” • Anthropos

“This exciting collection of essays by a wonderful group of authors, anchored by an extensive theoretical introduction, engages with some of the most heatedly debated subjects of South American ethnography today.” • Anthony Seeger, UCLA

“This book brings together empirically rich, ethnographically grounded case studies of ritual and musical interactions with non-humans from lowland and highland regions of the continent. This wealth of new material gives Rivera Andía ample justification for a thorough reappraisal of current debates on nonhumans and animism. The book will remain an essential reference for some time to come.” • Marc Brightman, University College London

“This volume cuts through the sometimes-abstruse discourse of post-humanism to return ethnography to its rightful place in the forefront of anthropological inquiry. These detailed field studies —each of which combines rigorous research with sensitive analysis— provide new insights into the ontological and political complexities of life in contemporary indigenous communities. Together they make a solid and inspiring collection that should contribute to theory and research for a long time to come.” • Catherine J. Allen, George Washington University

“This important volume makes a major contribution to scholarly understandings of the complex entanglements of human and non-human subjects across South America. By carefully foregrounding the impressive diversity and real political stakes of such entanglements, this work sets forth several ways that an anthropology beyond the human may be revised and resituated within the contemporary.” • Lucas Bessire, University of Oklahoma

“This book is a major contribution to today’s most important anthropological debates. Framed by a masterful introduction that positions the book in relation to attempts to bring non-humans into anthropological analysis, the chapters do what anthropology does best: put philosophical concerns into conversation with the complexities of fine-grained ethnographic analysis. Especially welcome are the book’s inclusion of diverse anthropological voices, its troubling of divides between South America's lowlands and highlands, and its consideration of indigenous life in shifting historical contexts. For anyone interested in the latest thinking on animism and multi-species ethnography, this book is a must-read.” • Michael Cepek, author of Life in Oil: Cofán Survival in the Petroleum Fields of Amazonia

“At a time when understanding human relations with the environment has never been more urgent, this theoretically important and ethnographically rich collection emphasises the variety and complexity of human relations with our surroundings. Covering an impressive range of different South American cultures and contexts this edited volume offers the reader lots of material and insights into the myriad forms of the world and the possibilities found in extending social membership beyond the human.” • Evan Killick, University of Sussex


Drawing on fieldwork from diverse Amerindian societies whose lives and worlds are undergoing processes of transformation, adaptation, and deterioration, this volume offers new insights into the indigenous constitutions of humanity, personhood, and environment characteristic of the South American highlands and lowlands. The resulting ethnographies – depicting non-human entities emerging in ritual, oral tradition, cosmology, shamanism and music – explore the conditions and effects of unequally ranked life forms, increased extraction of resources, continuous migration to urban centers, and the (usually) forced incorporation of current expressions of modernity into indigenous societies.

Juan Javier Rivera Andía is an anthropologist. He has carried out research at various international research centres in Europe, and has published widely on contemporary Andean Quechua indigenous worlds.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Cultural Studies (General)
Area: Latin America and the Caribbean


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