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Accepted Paper:

Emplacing a Cosmological Body in Amazonia: Kayapó Practices of Body Making  
Taynã Tagliati (University of Bonn)

Paper Short Abstract:

Place-making and healthy bodies are intrinsically affected by each-other in Kayapó worlding. As multiple species take active role in making places, they also take part in the construction of a healthy Kayapó body. In such a world, skin and bark entangle and become a cosmological body.

Paper Abstract:

Walking into the forest with Kayapó interlocutors is like going to the market: one always returns with the basketry full with edible crops, staples and fruits. Several medicines and materials of body-marking and -making are also found during the trekkings. In an Era of ecological crises, trekkings constitute a Kayapó mode of place-making. Although the construction of the Kayapó personhood necessarily implicates a Kayapó cosmological body, i.e. a body that embodies Kayapó entanglements and interdependencies in the world, one often overlooks that such human bodies are constituted by more-than-human bodies through relations that go beyond eating. In this paper I wish to discuss Kayapó theories and practices of place-making and territoriality as intrinsically grounded in their conception of body and health. For instance, genipap painting repels spirits who bring diseases; therefore, a healthy body must be always painted. In order to produce the ink, one must explore the forest interior and intimacy in search for bàri-pra-ô tree. In such expeditions, vines, tree barks and sap are collected with purpose of healing. Bàri-pra-ô’s bark is burnt until it becomes charcoal, which, in combination with genipap fruit, will originate the ink. The ink stays for up to two weeks, entangling tree’s bark and human’s skin in order to compose the final product: a cosmological body able to endure the illness spirits and other forces may bring. With this and other examples, I argue for a conception of healthy body-making as indissociable from place-making and territorial politics.

Panel OP115
Health and more-than-human entanglements
  Session 2 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -