Seminar 13 May – Benedikte Møller Kristensen

May 8th, 2014 by

Mond Building Seminar Room


All welcome

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Benedikte Møller Kristensen

University of Copenhagen

Lawless Lives in the Taiga of Black Powers: Shamanism, Law and Fear among the Duha Tuvinian Reindeer Nomads of Northern Mongolia


During the last two decades the hunting laws of Mongolia have increasingly become tightened creating a general fear among the Duha of the potential legal consequences of engaging in hunting, which today plays a crucial role in their very subsistence and livelihood. Yet, though rangers and border guards frequently seize Duha poachers and illegal border crossers, they are seldom arrested and in the cases where they are, and are brought to court, they are rarely sentenced. In the paper I discuss how the common Mongolian image of the Duha as dangerous shamans and the Duha convicts imitation of this image – alongside other factors such as friendship and bribery – give rise to a general fear of the Duha, which limits officials’ actual enforcement of the Mongolian law among the Duha. Finally it discusses how the general fear of the Duha both enable the Duha to circumvent national laws and trap them in a position as lawless and criminals within the Mongolian state.

(The paper is a draft to one of my chapters of my PHD thesis on how the Duha engage their shamanic tradition to sense, control and challenge their own history, being and lives in local and national landscapes.)

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