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The Jamamadi phytomorphism (Purus, AM): indigenous ethnology and plant life

Grant number: 18/23468-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2019
Effective date (End): March 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology - Indigenous Ethnology
Principal researcher:Renato Sztutman
Grantee:Karen Gomes Shiratori
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Based on the conceptual problems posed by the ethnography of Jamamadi (Shiratori 2018), an arawa speaker people of the middle Purus river (AM), this research project is about its "metaphysical phytomorphism", which constitutes the fundamental analogical register of the collective imagination of this people, as well as their ethnological and philosophical consequences for a reconceptualization of the relationship with plants. The importance of the plant universe for Jamamadi thought (as well as other Arawá peoples) singles them out within the ethnographic landscape in which the dominant speculative relation of humans to the environment privileges fauna rather than flora. In this sense, the project 1) points out and problematizes the emphasis that recent studies on the "animistic" or "perspectivist" dimensions of the Amazonian cosmologies have given the animal world, both from the practical-ethological (hunting, predation) and symbolic- cosmological (mythology, ritual) to the detriment of other forms of life, especially plants (restricted to areas of consanguinity and conviviality). 2) And through the systematization of the specialized bibliography, the project seeks to expand its scope beyond the limited contribution to the Juruá-Purus region in order to address the theoretical-conceptual effects produced by the repositioning of the plants on the indigenous socialities of other South American ethnographic regions. In short, because the anthropology of Jamamadi invests heavily in phytomorphic schemes, grounding a cosmology where the life of plants and the life of humans mirror and intertwine in multiple dimensions, such ethnographic singularity invites a re-evaluation of the images produced by recent ethnology about the conceptual, aesthetic and ethical universe of the Amazonian peoples, in line with a renewed interest of different areas of knowledge for the plant universe, especially philosophy.

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