Seminar – 10 May – Piers Vitebsky

May 3rd, 2016 by


Tuesday 10 May 2016

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Piers Vitebsky

University of Cambridge

Reindeer and Nomads: Departing, Arriving and Casting Time-Shadows

Mobility is not simply imposed by the movement of animals, but also gives a specific quality to the life they share with humans.  The cyclical movement of Eveny reindeer herders reveals an alternating build-up and release of tension as each site is activated by human engagement with its spirits and then becomes dormant again until the following year. In each onward move, pleasure is mingled with sadness to form an indigenous aesthetic as the herder’s intention to travel is matched by the destination’s invitation to arrive. By contrast, the Soviet-imposed village creates a new immobility which thwarts this aesthetic and these emotions, and is perhaps linked to increased violence, depression and suicide.