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Language as an clothes: communications and transformations between humans and animals in the Brazilian Amazon

Grant number: 22/08338-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2023
Effective date (End): November 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology - Indigenous Ethnology
Principal Investigator:Felipe Ferreira Vander Velden
Grantee:Gabriel Sanchez
Supervisor: Erikson Philippe
Host Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense (Paris 10), France  
Associated to the scholarship:20/02965-7 - Arremendar: an ethnography of interspecific communication in the Guaporé valley, Rondônia, BP.DR


The present project aims to deepen an unfolding question of my current doctoral research, which investigates the category "language" among indigenous peoples in the Rio Guaporé Indigenous Land and how, from it, interspecific communication between humans and animals is constituted. Therefore, through the research internship abroad to be carried out at Université Paris Nanterre between May and October 2023 and under the supervision of Philippe Erikson - a reference in studies in Americanist ethnology and human-animal relations - I intend to deepen the question of the so-called "animal languages" in the Amerindian worlds from the ethnographic data collected in field research, through the bibliographic review in the main collections of Paris and Nanterre, as well as from the contact with other researchers from the Laboratoire d'etnhologie et sociologie comparative' (LESC) and the 'Centre Enseignement et Recherche en Ethnologie Amérindienne' (EREA), both located in Nanterre. It is known that Amerindian shamans can carry out interspecific communications and transformations through the use of special and restricted verbal formulas and access to other domains of the cosmos. My effort, however, is to think about interspecific communication - made up of human and animal "languages" - from the point of view of hunters, that is, humans who apparently do not move between perspectives like shamans: how can one communicate, speak, listen, understand, ask and respond using "animal languages" from the hunter's point of view? My central hypothesis is that hunters of different ethnicities in the T.I Rio Guaporé can communicate with animals by operating transformations using the notion of "language", given that it makes it possible to experience animal alterity in a pronominal way. In this sense, this logic would work like the notion of "envelope", in which a "language" could be tried and changed like a garment, thus providing communication and transformation between humans and animals. (AU)

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