Batek Shamanism: healers, warriors and cosmopolitical diplomats




On Tues Feb 27, 6:30pm (London time), Ivan Tacey will be speaking LIVE @UCL Anthropology, in the Daryll Forde Room, 2nd Floor, Dept of Anthropology, 14 Taviton St, London WC1H 0BW. You can join us on ZOOM (ID 384 186 2174 passcode Wawilak). Ivan Tacey is a sociocultural anthropologist specialised in Southeast Asia.. His research examines the relationships between humans and the environments they live in. Since 2006, he has worked with Batek hunter-gatherers of Malaysia. His current work challenges ahistorical, apolitical and gender-blind accounts of animism associated with the ‘ontological turn’. He currently lectures in anthropology, sociology and criminology at the University of Plymouth.

Ivan writes: “This talk draws upon longterm ethnographic fieldwork among Batek Dè’ and Batek Maia hunter-gatherers and post-foragers living on the edges of the tropical rainforests of Peninsular Malaysia. The talk presents the principal activities of shamans and the vivid cosmotopographies revealed in their soul journeys which, I suggest, reflect long-term historical relations with a variety of outsiders and the influence of Malay, Arabic and European ideas and imagery. By incorporating the perspectives of Others and drawing upon the perceived power of specific entities and places (human and nonhuman, local and faraway), shamans reconfigure their contemporary and historical relations within a realm where they hold considerable power. The creative potential of mythopoetic story-telling and embodied shamanic experiences does not refute modernity or obliterate history. Shamans draw upon the power of modernity and history to remake socio-spatial and temporal relations with an array of human and nonhuman others.”