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Hunting in Itelmen

Filming a Past Practice in a Disappearing Language

David Koester and Liivo Niglas

This article presents a narrative and analytical account of an ethnographic filmmaking project that could be described as “salvage anthropology.“ In 2008 anthropologist David Koester and ethnographic filmmaker Liivo Niglas worked with indigenous Itelmen hunters Georgii Zaporotskii and Pavel Khaloimov to record accounts of hunting practices in the Itelmen language and the formerly practiced tradition of hunting sable with a net. The article describes the project and what went into the making of the first film to result, Itelmen Stories. It provides details of the ethnohistorical record of sable hunting that could not be included in the film. The article emphasizes the collaborative and serendipitous nature of “salvage anthropology“ in the twenty-first century, and discusses the problem of “museification“ and the value of filming technique that emphasized equally observation of practices and attending to narratives. The article gives an account of the filming in context and in turn a more general context for understanding of Itelmen life today.

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Gary Anderson

On a frozen field 35 kilometers east of Dortmund, members of Germany’s

elite—government officials, business leaders, and royalty—

assemble in the medieval city of Arnsberg for a 1,000 year ritual: the

Arnsberg Treibjagd (driven hunt). Like live-sized Hummelfiguren,

adorned in Bavarian-style Loden coats, expensive Zeiss binoculars,

priceless weapons, and accompanied by the German hunter’s best

friend, the Dackel, they ready themselves for the ancient and hairraising

wail of the hunting horns—the hunt is on! The playing out of

this medieval scene is soon interrupted, however, by an unlikely

group of fast-moving, jean-clad “hunting saboteurs” who, wielding

signs that read “Hunting is Murder,” proceed to barricade hunting

areas and to risk life and limb before high-powered rifles. The scene

plays itself out in the usual way: heated words are exchanged, the

police arrive, and the hunt is cancelled. Over the past few years, this

scenario has become more common in German forests. For the first

time in its deeply rooted existence, German hunting is under siege

by the anti-hunting movement, begging the question of whether this

age-old hunting culture will survive in the new century.

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Sanne van der Hout and Martin Drenthen

Scientists need narrative structures, metaphors, and images to explain and legitimize research practices that are usually described in abstract and technical terms. Yet, sometimes they do not take proper account of the complexity and multilayered character of their narrative self-presentations. This also applies to the narratives of ecotechnology explored in this article: the treasure quest narrative used in the field of metagenomics, and the tutorial narrative proposed by the learning-from-nature movement biomimicry. Researchers from both fields tend to underestimate the general public’s understanding of the inherent ambivalence of the narratives suggested by them; the treasure quest and tutorial narratives build upon larger master narratives that can be found throughout our culture, for instance, in literature, art, and film. We will show how these genres reveal the moral ambivalence of both narratives, using two well-known movies as illustrations: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1940).

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Jennifer Rebecca Kelly and Stacy Rule

Full-length feature articles in eight popular American hunting magazines were assessed to better understand hunter-prey relationships as depicted in contemporary hunting discourse. Our findings suggest hunters regard prey using two contradictory paradigms-Love and Kill. In the Love category, we find respect for life, admiration for nature and animals, and a sense of kinship between hunter and prey. In contrast, writings consistent with the Kill theme focus on conquest, objectification, hunter physiological responses, and violence. Of the 23 articles reviewed, 61 percent of the sample had multiple representations of Love and Kill in the same article, revealing a multilayered discourse. Many scholars have written about Love and Kill as separate constructs in hunting, suggesting they are mutually exclusive. Our empirical study counters this claim, finding instead that individual hunters often view their prey through a mixed lens that includes both Love and Kill.

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Nels Paulson

Hunting is an important basis for conservation, but hunters are surprisingly scarce in global networks of environmental advocacy and governance, and hunting management systems are not given the attention they should receive. This article reveals the messages promoted by hunting advocates through an analysis of museum representations and interviews in order to understand the limitations of and basis upon which further integration of hunters into conservation advocacy circles worldwide could occur. Museums feature representations that reflect the cultural elucidations of their host organization. This article will show how the International Wildlife Museum—maintained by Safari Club International—produces messages of the inseparability of humans from nature, purposive management of nature, dependence upon global capitalism and predation, and the neutrality of scientific knowledge. Through these messages a narrative space for the management of wildlife is produced that attempts to unite the commodification and conservation of nature, namely, “sustainable hunting”. This article concludes by identifying contradictions among the messages of sustainable hunting that may limit hunting advocates' ability to work with other stakeholders to further improve hunting management systems.

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Madhudaya Sinha

Animal imagery and anthropomorphic parallels abound in Rider Haggard’s fantastic African adventure, She (1887). Africa itself is presented to the reader as a landscape inhabited by ‘beastly’ natives and wild animals galore. Even the novel’s overpowering female presence, that of ‘She-who-must-be-obeyed’ (as Ayesha is known by those natives over whom she rules), is eventually reduced to a simian status. Such a textual focus, fitting comfortably into a more extensive dream of Victorian empire, lent the novel cultural, as well as fictive, power. The animal imagery helped to produce durable models of African identity and otherness which were compatible with current ideas of geography, race and human evolution.