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Katherine Swancutt

Landmark anthropological works on fame have shown that gift-giving is often the vehicle for producing relations of 'positive value' and recognition. When viewing fame against the related notion of fortune, however, the focal point of study shifts to how people produce reputations that are 'beyond value' or 'priceless'. This article proposes that the Nuosu of Southwest China enter into an ongoing 'economy of ordeals' in order to accumulate priceless 'tokens of value' that increase their 'fate-fortune' and fame. It shows that ambitious Nuosu accept new ordeals to achieve fame, while comfortably viewing their accomplishments as akin to those of a predatory spider. Tellingly, though, these efforts are vulnerable to the counter-extractive maneuvers of other people and ghosts, which present the Nuosu with new ordeals that could deplete their resources.

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The Art of Capture

Hidden Jokes and the Reinvention of Animistic Ontologies in Southwest China

Katherine Swancutt

ecological jargon in the first place. Drawing on my fieldwork among the Nuosu of Southwest China, my aim in this article is to show how the ‘art of capture’ underpins the native reinvention of animistic ontologies that shadow our fieldwork efforts at

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Religion through the Looking Glass

Fieldwork, Biography, and Authorship in Southwest China and Beyond

Katherine Swancutt

person would thus extend across the moments of my fieldwork, the lives and research of my Nuosu colleagues (especially ethnologists) in Southwest China, my life and research in England, my return (and past) visits to Ninglang, the previous and upcoming

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The Algebra of Souls

Ontological Multiplicity and the Transformation of Animism in Southwest China

Mireille Mazard

, onstage, is demonstrating the beginning of this journey for a group of researchers who traveled from Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan in Southwest China, to the province’s remote northwestern frontier to study endangered traditions of ethnic minority

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The Elementary Economies of Dechenwa Life

Fortune, Vitality, and the Mountain in Sino-Tibetan Borderlands

Giovanni da Col

This article presents some images and conceptual structures surrounding notions of fortune and luck among Dechen Tibetans in southwest China and reflects on the strategies for negotiating the integrity of persons and other 'social containers'. First, it analyzes the problem in separating the multifarious manifestations of fortune connected to the well-being and vitality of persons and households. Secondly, it examines the ethnographic concepts arising from the interface between fortune and sovereignty by illustrating the cosmological imagination surrounding contemporary state rituals focused on the cult of Mt. Khawa Karpo. Finally, musing on the relation between vitality, containership, and alterity, the article highlights how tracing the flows of fortune problematizes the divide between interiority and exteriority, or the question of where the outside and the inside of a being or a society begin.

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Introduction

Anthropological Knowledge Making, the Reflexive Feedback Loop, and Conceptualizations of the Soul

Katherine Swancutt and Mireille Mazard

thinker in Southwest China, each of whom wields mischievously reflexive ideas about animism. Swancutt shows that Nuosu use hidden jokes to comment reflexively on both animistic ideas and the very concept of animism. Recently, the Chinese environmentalist

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Recursivity and the Self-Reflexive Cosmos

Tricksters in Cuban and Brazilian Spirit Mediumship Practices

Diana Espírito Santo

instance, Mireille Mazard’s account (this issue) of how ‘soul attributes’ and metamorphosis are intrinsic to Nusu persons and spirits in Southwest China. 3 Phalanxes, or falanges , are ‘lines’ of spirits operating under the command of a more evolved entity

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Spirit of the Future

Movement, Kinetic Distribution, and Personhood among Siberian Eveny

Olga Ulturgasheva

a person’s destination on an extremely elastic scale. 2 This also goes in parallel with Mireille Mazard’s (this issue) study of the Nusu in Southwest China, who, at certain critical moments in life (e.g., emotional crisis) experience their human

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George Johnston’s Tibetan Interlude

Myth and Reality in Shangri-La

Paul Genoni and Tanya Dalziell

This process reached a slightly absurd administrative conclusion in 2002, when Zhongdian County in Southwest China was officially renamed Shangrila, beating bids by neighboring prefectures. 5 Burke also adopted the Shangri-La motif for his Liberty

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Introduction

Narratives, Ontologies, Entanglements, and Iconoclasms

Sondra L. Hausner, Simon Coleman and Ruy Llera Blanes

religion and aspiration. Taking the example of Southwest China as her case study—where she was asked to judge a cultural competition on the basis of her own history as a dancer—Swancutt looks at the engagement between ethnographers and their communities of