The Second International MEWSC Symposium

The Second International MEWSC Workshop "Indigenous Ontologies: Reassessing Human and Non-Human Relations" on July 29-30, 2014

The Marginalised and Endangered Worldviews Study Centre (MEWSC) has been established at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland, to promote the study of contemporary endangered cultures, religions, worldviews, religious cultures, and minority religions. Cultural expressions – both tangible and intangible – and the worldviews of marginalised, endangered and persecuted peoples, social groups and indigenous communities are the focus of MEWSC. At the heart of the centre’s mission is the desire to encourage counter-hegemonial perspectives on peripheral cultural and religious voices and promote the incorporation of such perspectives into mainstream scholarship.

The second international MEWSC workshop will address the theme: "Indigenous Ontologies: Reassessing Human and Non-Human Relations". The recent ontological turn in French anthropology (Descola 1992, 2013 [2005], Viveiro de Castro 1998) as well as the discourse on neo-animism (Harvey 2005) question hegemonial anthropocentric perspectives emphasizing the need for understanding ontological alterities and pluralisms, often labeled animism or neo-animism. The second international MEWSC workshop is devoted to the understanding of diverse forms of existence by examining human and non-human relations in indigenous Indian Adivasi contexts, cross-cultural ontological alterities in international folklore and minority religions.

The key-note lecture “New approaches to animism: foregrounding relationality” will be delivered by Dr Graham Harvey – head of the department of Religious Studies at the Open University and President of the British Association for the Study of Religions. His Animism: Respecting the Living World (2005) has contributed significantly to re-thinking animism. His edited Handbook of Contemporary Animism (2013) demonstrates the interdisciplinary reach of these new approaches.

The workshop is co-organised by the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu and the Marginalised and Endangered Worldviews Study Centre (MEWSC), University College Cork (UCC) in co-operation with the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (CECT).

If you would like to participate in the workshop, please contact Margaret Lyngdoh ( as soon as possible.

References and suggested readings:

Descola, Philippe 1992. Societies of Nature and the Nature of Society. In: A. Kuper (ed.), Conceptualizing Society. London; New York: Routledge, pp. 107-126.

Descola, Philippe 2011. Human Natures. In: Quaderns. Vol. 27, pp. 11-25.

Descola, Philippe 2013. Beyond Nature and Culture. The University of Chicago Press. (Original:  Descola, Philippe 2005. Par-delà de la nature etculture. Paris: Gallimard.)

Harvey, Graham 2005. Animism: Respecting the Living World. Columbia University Press.

Latour, Bruno 2013. Another way to compose the common world. ‘The Ontological Turn in French Philosophical Anthropology’ An Executive Session of the AAA Annual Meeting, Chicago, November 23, 2013.

Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo 1998. Cosmological Deixis and Amerindian Perspectivism. In: The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Sep., 1998), pp. 469-488.

Study of Religions Department

Staidéar Reiligiún

Room 3.37, T12 ND89