Filming Mongolian Medicine

Dr Natasha Fijn, Australian National University

Monday 6 February, 3pm-5pm

Room 321, Level 3, Sidney Myer Asia Centre


One Health, One Medicine is a filmic inquiry into the medical practices Mongolian herders use to treat their families and the herd animals they live with. This multispecies-based analysis will add to a greater understanding of pastoral knowledge practices, more-than-human sociality, and perceptions towards other beings. Herding families in the Khangai Mountains live in harsh environmental conditions and are crucially reliant on herd animals as a means of survival. The circumstances surrounding illness involves dealing with the vulnerabilities of life and death amongst family members, including herd animals, on a daily basis. Focusing on the treatment of animals when they are ill is a good means of drawing out ritual practices and attitudes toward Significant Others: a fascinating window into Mongolian herder cosmology and worldview toward other beings. The video-based findings inform the interdiscliplinary fields of human-animal studies and environmental humanities, engaging with the current literature on different ontologies within anthropology, while contributing to academic discussions surrounding zoonoses, multispecies ethnography, nature-cultures and processes of domestication. The presentation will be accompanied by a couple of illustrative video segments and a photo essay to give an indication of the visual aspects of the project. 


Dr Natasha Fijn is a Fejos Postdoctoral Fellow in Ethnographic Film, funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation to film the medical treatment of herders and herd animals in Mongolia in 2017. Her research engages with aspects of visual anthropology, animal domestication and animal studies. Her ongoing interest is in cross-cultural perceptions and attitudes towards other animals; as well as the use of the visual, particularly observational filmmaking, as an integral part of her research. Her book, Living with Herds: human-animal coexistence in Mongolia, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011. 


This event is sponsored by the Asia Environments Hub.


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