Human-animal Relationships In San And Hunter-gatherer Cosmology, Volume I: Therianthropes And Transformation
by Mathias Guenther /
2019 / English / PDF
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Exploring a hitherto unexamined aspect of San cosmology, Mathias Guenthers two volumes on human-animal relations in San cosmology link new Animism with Khoisan Studies, providing valuable insights for Khoisan Studies and San culture, but also for anthropological theory, relational ontology, folklorists, historians, literary critics and art historians. In Volume I, therianthropes and transformations, two manifestations of ontological mutability that are conceptually and phenomenologically linked, are contextualized in broader San myth. Guenther explores the pervasiveness of human-animal hybridity and transformation in San expressive culture (myth, stories and storytelling, ludic dancing and art, ancestral rock art and contemporary easel art), ritual (trance dance curing, female and male rites of passage) and hunting. Transformation is shown to be experienced by humans, particularly via rituals and dancing that evoke animal identity mergers, but also by hunters who may engage with their prey animals in terms of sympathy and inter-subjectivity, particularly through the use of hunting medicines.