Vortragsankündigung 2018 Penang/Malaysia Ways of the hunting dog

Twelth International Conference on Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHAGS XII), Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia, 23.-27. Juli 2018


Thorsten Gieser, University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany

In this paper I explore hunting in Germany as a multi-species engagement from a (anthropologically) de-centralised perspective by asking, what does one particular hunting dog (called Jakko) do?

Key words (3): human-animal relations, situation, hunting

Abstract, long

In this paper I question the assumption that the philosophical and archaeological/anthropological ideas about the exceptional status of humans vis-à-vis animals are characteristic of the so-called ‘Western’ societies in general. Rather than proofing that Western relations to animals are estranged, the lived reality of hunting practices reveals how different human and nonhuman animals correspond with each other. Taking the example of pressure hunts in Germany I show how animals act and interact as sentient and intentional beings and are treated as such by the human hunters. Instead of starting such an inquiry with the question, what do hunters actually do? (Ingold 2000), I ask, what does one particular hunting dog (called Jakko) do? By presenting him in four ‘hunting situations’ (Widlok, 2016; Gieser, forthcoming), different dimensions of the pressure hunt are revealed: hunting with humans, hunting with other dogs, searching for game, and chasing, fighting and killing game. Thereby I explore hunting as a multi-species engagement from a (anthropologically) de-centralised perspective that takes an ‘anthropology beyond the human’ (Ingold 2013) seriously.

Gieser, Thorsten (forthcoming). Killing a wounded sow: a phenomenological approach to a problematic hunting situation. In: Thiemo Breyer & Thomas Widlok (eds.). The Situationality of Human-Animal Relations: Perspectives from Anthropology and Philosophy. Bielefeld:transcript

Ingold, Tim (2000). Perception of the environment: essays in livelihood, dwelling and skill. London: Routledge

Ingold, Tim (2013). Anthropology beyond humanity. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 38 (3): 5-23

Widlok, Thomas (2016). Hunter-Gatherer situations. Hunter-Gatherer Research 2 (2): 127-143


Dieser Vortrag ist Teil des Panels

(P19) The animal “other”: encounters with non-human animals in the past and the present

Convenors: Anna Fagan, The University of Melbourne; Ran Barkai, Tel-Aviv University

Discussants: Paul Tacon, Griffith University; Anna Fagan, The University of Melbourne; Ran Barkai, Tel-Aviv University

Abstract: The commodification and estrangement of animals that underpins Western environmental relations has seriously impacted how we conceive of non-human agency, interspecies relations, and ecological concerns. Our session seeks to move beyond anthropocentrism, functionalism, and representationalism to build more critical understandings of animal others and the complex ways in which they co-shape worlds.

Keywords: ontology, perspectivism, human-animal relations, animism, vitality

The utilitarian conception and taxonomic separation of animals inherent in Western philosophy and archaeological theory has seriously impacted how we conceive of non-human agency, interspecies relations, and political and ecological concerns. Indeed, the commodification and estrangement of animals that underpins current Western environmental relations is but a recent and culturally contingent phenomenon, derived from prevailing economic changes that originated in early modern Europe. However, coinciding with the understandings of indigenous peoples from across the globe, recent theoretical perspectives in the social sciences have interrogated the Euro-modern divide between nature and culture and the objectification of non-humans. Many indigenous peoples consider animals as potentially persons with sentience and intentionality and continue to fight for their political recognition. Scholastic conceptual developments and indigenous social movements demonstrate that taking other systems of knowledge on equal intellectual terms is not only a matter of political exigency, but also constitutes a more inclusive, reflexive, and critical anthropology and archaeology. Thus, it is the aim of this session to move beyond anthropocentrism, functionalism, subsistence, and representationalist logic to explore multi-species engagements and the complex and nuanced ways in which animals co-shape past and present worlds. In the fields of anthropology and archaeology, we want to reconsider animal hunting, consumption, deposition, treatment, and production. This might involve but is not limited to: the use of animal skins and artefacts to gain their perspectives or harness their effective action; their depiction in iconography along with images of hybridity, transformation, and animal perception; the potentially existentially risky practices of hunting; and their presence in architecture and burial contexts. Through critical analysis of interspecies relations, engagements, and non-human points-of-view, we hope to build open-ended understandings of animal others. We welcome presentations by indigenous speakers, anthropologists and archaeologists, as well as anyone else with an interesting take.