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Perspectivism 101: Amazonian Cosmology & Corporealities



Prof. Aparecida Vilaça (Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro; Tinker Visiting Professor, Stanford University


Thursday, February 13, 2020 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm


in Building 50, Room 51A (Department of Anthropology)



Perspectivism 101: Amazonian Cosmology & Corporealities

We are thrilled to announce that materiaSouth of South and the Latin American and the Caribbean Working Group will be co-hosting "Perspectivism 101: Amazonian Cosmology & Corporealities," a discussion with Prof. Aparecida Vilaça (Anthropology, Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro; Tinker Visiting Professor, Stanford University). The event will take place on Thursday, February 13th at 5pm in Building 50, Room 51A (Department of Anthropology)
Prof. Vilaça will offer an introduction to perspectivism and its impact on Amazonian conceptions of the body, following her paper "Chronically Unstable Bodies: Reflections on Amazonian Corporalities" (2005) and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro's essay "Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism" (1998). Both papers can be downloaded in this location (make sure to sign-in with your SUNet ID to properly access them). A detailed description of Prof. Vilaça's talk can be found below.
"Perspectivism and unstable bodies in Amazonia"
In 1996, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro published "Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism," a paper that changed the course of Amazonian anthropology, placing the socio-cosmological systems of the region in the center of anthropological debates worldwide. Based on extensive ethnographic data regarding the position of animals and their relationship with humans in native Amerindian cosmologies, the author proposed a theory redefining such cosmologies as perspectivist. In them, both humans and animals see themselves as humans and live as such, that is, they share the same culture; but unlike in animism, they do not see each other as such, but rather as animals or spirits.
Through a detailed analysis of that inaugural article as well as my paper "Chronically Unstable Bodies" — on the effects of perspectivism on native conceptions of the body — we will examine this theory, which has, for over twenty years, enabled new descriptions of the systems of thought of the Amazonian peoples.
Snacks and wine will be served. RSVP here (not required but strongly encouraged!).
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to email the co-organizers Romina Wainberg (materia) and Nelson Shuchmacher Endebo (South of South).