Cosmological visionaries: shamans, scientists, and climate change at the ethnic borderlands of China and Russia
Cosmological Visionaries (COSMOVIS) explores what global environmental initiatives of the future will look like, by asking: (1) How can scientists, shamans, priests, and other indigenous holders of animistic knowledge collaborate in regions of climatic vulnerability and (2) What are the geopolitics of climate change and the policies that surround it?
Starting from the position that cosmology often evokes religious ways of knowing or being, the project brings together anthropologists, ethnologists, historians and philosophers of science and ethics, religious studies experts, space and satellite researchers, indigenous leaders and environmental scientists to examine how climate change is managed at the ethnic borderlands of China and Russia.
Our project is an academic and a practical intervention driven by two research teams – the Russia Team and the China Team – with a fourfold methodology.
Firstly, we will uncover the scientific and indigenous views on climate change in Siberia and Southwest China.
Secondly, we will mobilise dialogues between scientists and animistic peoples to mutually inform their approaches to climate change.
Thirdly, we will explore how collaboration can benefit both parties.
Fourthly, we will map the policies and geopolitics of climate change in Russia and China.
Scientists who collaborate with indigenous peoples can get more subtle data than when working alone. Indigenous persons who supply scientists with advice and logistical help can source scientific initiatives for managing local climate change. This feedback loop between scientists and indigenous peoples, advocating for each other, can enable religious leaders and scientists to translate shared findings into visions that everyone can commit to.
It will be driven by two research teams, one in Russia led by Dr Ulturgasheva and one in China led by Dr Katherine Swancutt (KCL).
The project is funded by the European Research Council Synergy grant.