Anthropology Seminar Series | Multi-sensorial Attunement between Human and Horse in Mongolia
Anthropology Seminar Series:
Multi-sensorial Attunement between Human and Horse in Mongolia
Speaker: Natasha Fijn, Director of the Mongolia Institute and ARC Future Fellow (ANU)
Host: Dr Sophie Chao
Join via Zoom
Both humans and horses are increasingly living settled and enclosed existences, while being used less in working roles. In the Land of the Horse, Mongolia, horses still function as a core part of the mobile pastoral herding existence. The focus here is on the use of ‘architectures of domestication’, specifically herding tools and implements as extensions of the body. The GoPro camera is employed as a research tool to explore multi-sensorial attunement through the use of a lasso pole. Bloodletting tools are passed on over the generations and are used to jab key points of the horse, as an important means of building immunity and preventing illness. There has been little documentation of the practice of bloodletting on horses. This ancient healing tradition will be described through a multi-sensory ethnographic approach. Tools used by herders could be construed as a means of control or coercion, yet they are often used with the intention of directing and guiding an individual animal, or in the instance of the bloodletting knife, in the prevention of illness and to assist in a horse’s overall health and wellbeing.
Natasha Fijn is an ethnographic researcher and observational filmmaker based at the Australian National University’s Mongolia Institute. Her ongoing interest is in cross-cultural perceptions and attitudes towards other animals, as well as the use of the visual, particularly observational filmmaking, as an integral part of her research. Natasha’s ethnographic fieldwork has been based in the Khangai Mountains of Mongolia and Arnhem Land in northern Australia, involving engagement with human-animal relations and concepts of domestication. Since 2016, her research focus has been on multispecies medicine in Mongolia. Natasha has made two films – Two Seasons: Multispecies Medicine in Mongolia (2017) and ‘Yolngu Homeland’ (2015). Her first monograph, Living with Herds: Human-Animal Coexistence in Mongolia, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011. Natasha previously held fellowships at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Oslo and the ANU’s College of the Arts and Social Sciences.
3:00–5:00 PM (Sydney time, GMT+10)