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Accepted Paper:

On the Semiotics of morphology in the study of religions: A Case Study of Rebgong, Amdo Tibet (Qinghai, China)  
Lijing Peng (Trinity College Dublin)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the interplay between engaged morphology and language practices in the temporalities of religious rituals. I focus on how Tibetan villagers creatively construct senses of hope and meaning in life through perceiving the transition of spaces.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores the study of engaged morphology in religious practice, as it ‘opens up fundamental questions about how we can situate ritual action, when places start to be considered as sacred and why, and what kind of role the environment plays in the religious construction of social life’ (Padoan 2021). My study focuses on the townscape of Wutun village in Rebgong area (Qinghai, China), as well as the morphology of the mountainous areas surrounding the village to understand the ritual of harvest festive in the sixth lunar month very year. One perspective is to study the long term dynamics of Buddhist beliefs and older mountain deity beliefs, and how the rituals reflecting them are projected onto the townscape and morphology in the surrounding mountainous areas. The other aspect is to study the different public and private speeches uttered in various morphological units, so as to understand how people perceive the spaces and creatively interpret the meaning of them according to their real world situations.

My study focuses on how Tibetan villagers locate their rituals in various morphological units, and accordingly recognise and contest visible and invisible authorities and their relations to places; and how they creatively construct senses of hope and meaning of life in the religious practices in shifting engaged morphological units. In an era of tourist economics and state supervised cultural heritage preservation, studying morphology of the area and how it relates to ritual practice greatly facilitates rethinking the role of religion and place-making in state-local relations.

Panel P055c
Potentialities of Semiotic Landscapes: Language Practices, Materialities and Agency [EASA network on Linguistic Anthropology] III
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -