In a new and engaging study, Halemba explores the religion and world outlook of the Telengits of Altai. The book provides an account of the Altai, its peoples, clans and political structures, focusing particularly on on the Telengits, whilst also considering the different elements of religious belief exhibited among these native peoples.
Paradoxically, as the demand for national recognition grows among such people, and with it the need for more formal state structures, built around the nation, religion too begins to become formalized, and loses its natural, all-pervasive character. With the Telengits, whose natural religion includes elements of Buddhism, this takes the form of a debate as to whether the state religion of their polity is to be Buddhism or, contrary to the character of shamanism, a formal, structured, fixed shamanism. This is a comprehensive anthropological account of the contemporary religious life of the Telengits, holding important implications for wider debates in sociology and politics.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part 1: Landscape and Movement 1. The Altai, the Altaians and the Telengits 2. Sacred Land and the Significance of Places 3. Moving Through a Powerful Landscape 4. Rites of Springs Part 2: Ritual and Knowledge 5. Chaga Bairam 6. Ontology of the Spirits 7. Lamas and Shamans 8. Ritual and Revival. Conclusion
Agnieszka E. Halemba has conducted anthropological research in southern Siberia since 1993. She received her first degree from the University of Warsaw, Poland. In 2002 she received her PhD in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge, UK. She is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany, and a Visiting Lecturer at the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Warsaw, Poland.
'...rich and engaging ethnography of a fascinating place...' - Alexander D. King, University of Aberdeen, The Journal of the Royal Antropological Institute, Volume 15, Number 1, March 2009