This book on Nanai shamanic culture is based on first-hand information provided by shamans and recorded in the years between 1980 and 2012, a time of rapid socio-cultural change in Russia. It sheds light on the lively indigenous discourse in which social factors such as the splitting of society into different paternal lineages relates to spiritual troubles that Nanai people experience as collective 'shamanic disease.' But inter-clan confrontations are not only mediated in shamanic rituals, as these must not be separated from folk narratives, dances and other forms of art. Furthermore, the book provides profound insights into the plurality of contradictory discourses on indigenous knowledge as well as those delivered in non-indigenous contexts. The latter arose or became more intense in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods, and often led to experiments in new shamanic practices.
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Tatiana Bulgakova was born in Khabarovsk. In 1980, she began her first fieldwork among the Nanai and completed her second (doctorate) PhD dissertation on socio-religious aspects of Nanai culture in 2001. Since 1986 she has been teaching cultural anthropology and folklore of the indigenous peoples of the Russian North at the Herzen State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg. Her work has been supported by scholarships from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, U.S.A. (Fulbright Program), from the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany and the Institute for Advanced Studies, Nantes, France.
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