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Chères et chers collègues,

Nous aurons le plaisir d’accueillir

Kristina Jonutytė (Institute of Asian and Transcultural Studies, Vilnius University) sur le thème Taming the City: Unfinished Religious Expansion in Post-Soviet Buryatia


Valeriya Gazizova (South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University et GSRL) sur le thème Female (under)ground: transformation of religious roles and practices of Kalmyk women since late socialism to the present 


le mercredi 5 octobre 2022 de 14-17h 


Discutants : Jeanna Kormina (EPHE, GSRL) et Sergei Shtyrkov (EPHE, GSRL)  


dans le cadre de l’Axe transversal « Interactions et créativités religieuses : perspectives anthropologiques » du GSRL coordonné par Detelina Tocheva et Virginie Vaté, et du Séminaire des études mongoles et sibériennes coordonné par Isabelle Charleux, Grégory Delaplace et Virginie Vaté, 


Lieu : Bâtiment de recherche nord, salle 5.067, Campus Condorcet 

14 cours des Humanités, 93322 Aubervilliers 

(Métro Front Populaire (Ligne 12) ; RER B La Plaine – Stade de France) 

et en ligne : https://meet.goto.com/930844109 




Kristina Jonutytė 

Taming the City: Unfinished Religious Expansion in Post-Soviet Buryatia 

 The paper explores Buddhism and urbanisation in post-Soviet Buryatia (Russian Federation). While postsocialist religious revivals have often been discussed by scholars as questions of temporality, this paper suggests that they might also be seen as spatial reconfigurations. Seen in this way, a Buryat Buddhist religious revival might be perceived as an unfinished religious expansion, absorbing new spaces and appropriating them along the way. In this light, and to local Buddhists, the city is a new territory that is subject to a continuing religious intervention, making it less hostile and more manageable in the new – and difficult – urban condition. This religious intervention, referred to here as ‘taming the city’, is discussed in the paper through a number of spatial conduits: punctuating, radiating, and covering. These spatial aspects are entwined with social ones amidst ongoing religious change, as shifting religious topography interplays with transforming social, economic and political conditions. 


Valeriya Gazizova 

Female (under)ground: transformation of religious roles and practices of Kalmyk women since late socialism to the present 

 The talk will demonstrate forms of religious innovation involving changed gender roles that can be paradoxically initiated by a totalitarian state suppression of traditional ecclesiastical structures on the example of the Buddhist society of Kalmykia. 
The institutes that preserve and propagate Buddhist knowledge among the Kalmyks, and other Mongols, have been historically a male prerogative, and unlike Tibet and the Himalayas, no nunneries ever existed in Kalmykia. The exclusion of women largely extended beyond the Buddhist establishment into popular worship and folk healing. 
In the talk, I shall follow the development of categories of ritual specialists from the late 1950s to the present where women not only outnumber men, but also play leading roles. To what extent have these female practitioners – during socialism and after – been custodians of the Kalmyk religio-cultural continuity? Or have they, on the contrary, become initiators of de-canonization and reformers of traditional cosmology?  
Of particular importance are scriptural and ritual healing practices centred on revelations and involving secret incomprehensible codes, which seem to be part of a much larger pattern on the present-day religious scene in Inner Asia.