"Natures and Cultures in Southeast Asia"
International Workshop at Chiang Mai University

The objective of this international workshop is to explore the relations between societies and their environments in Southeast Asia. Following Philippe Descola's proposition to overcome the western dualism that opposes nature and culture, we will revisit Southeast Asian ethnographic material concerning, in particular, the modes of being and engaging practically and conceptually to the world. In the presence of the French anthropologist, we will question the diversity of natures in the region through the study of the articulations between animisms, Hindu-Buddhist cosmologies and any other forms of connecting the social, ecological and cosmic orders.

November 7th and 8th 2017 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

  • 4th floor meeting room
    Operational Building, Faculty of Social Science
    Chiang Mai University

Organized by the Institute of Research on Contemporary southeast Asia (IRASEC) and the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD), Faculty of Social Science of Chiang Mai University.

In partnership with the Collège de France, the Center for Ethnic Studies and Development and the Faculty of Social Science of Chiang Mai University (CESD), the French Embassies of Thailand, Hanoi and Phnom Penh and IRD.

Abstracts of Philippe Descola

"Analogism versus animism: discrepancies and resemblances"
Chiang Mai: 1st lecture, November 7th, from 9:50 to 10.50 am

Analogism and animism are predicated upon very different ontological premises. The former refers to a fragmented world made up of a multiplicity of components which must be held together through networks of correspondences. While the latter presupposes a world composed of self-reflexive and sentient human and non human beings who differ from one another by their bodily dispositions, not by their moral and subjective qualities. However, certain parts of the world – Southeast Asia, Northwest Amazonia, Northern Central Asia – evidence a blending of these features which will be examined in the lecture.

"Instituting Amazonian Collectives"
Chiang Mai: 2d lecture, November 8th, from 9:15 to 9:50 am

Amazonian human and non humans collectives are no different from other animist assemblages elsewhere: each one of them is a monospecific ‘tribe-species’ composed of all the members of a class of beings sharing identical physical dispositions which give them access to a world of their own. Humans are moreover parceled up into a number of different tribes-species defined by the tools they use to relate to the world, tools that are seen as ‘natural’ extensions of their bodies in the same sense as the bodily dispositions of plants, animals and spirits.