Tracing Animism in Human Evolution: Inter-species Entanglements in Early Human Beliefs

Organised by Armin W. Geertz, Mathias Bjørnevad Jensen & Helle Vandkilde with Lotte Hedeager (Oslo) as keynote speaker, Sean O'Neill & Matthew Walsh (AU Arctic Centre AU), and Jens Notroff (DAI-Göbekli Tepe)

02.11.2016 | Mia Korsbæk

Dato tor 24 nov
Tid 13:00 17:00
Sted AU Moesgård, Foredragssalen, 4206-139.

Animism is the belief that animals, plants, objects and other beings of

nature are animated with ‘souls’. It is a cosmology in which nonhuman

creatures and things are believed to have motivations, feelings and agency

very similar to or identical with those of human beings. Thus,

communications with and relations between the spirits, animals and humans

are fundamentally social. Animism is closely associated with shamanistic

practices and its inherent idea of shape-changing and of hybrid existences

between animals, humans and things. Since the work of Tylor (1871)

animism has often been conceptualized as the original form of religion in

hunter-gatherer societies hence characterizing the outset of human history.

There is in current research, however, a growing awareness of the changing

nature of animism, which may take different forms in different societies and

thus is not solely tied to a hunter-gatherer way of life. Based on case studies,

experimental evidence and cross-cultural comparisons, the seminar papers

explore whether there is a transcultural essence and multi-period presence

of animism, whilst the perspectives taken represent archaeology as well as

psychology and history of religion.



13.00 (sharp) Helle Vandkilde: Welcome with short introduction

13.10 Lotte Hedeager (Oslo University): Other ways of being: Analytical

categories and perceptual realities in Old Norse society

14.00 Jens Notroff (DAI Berlin-Frankfurt): Göbekli Tepe: Leaping Foxes,

Dancing Cranes - Human-Animal Entanglement in a hunter’s world

14.45 Matthew J. Walsh & Sean O’Neill (Arctic Center AU): Up a tree

with a ladder: using phylogenetics for reconstructing the shape of

human history

15.15 Coffee break

15.30 Mads Dengsø Jessen (National Museum): The appeal of the unreal,

and the material anchoring of animism in late Iron Age metalwork

16.00 Jesper Sørensen: Animism, Cognition and Psychology

16.30 Armin W Geertz: Hunter-gatherers and Evolutionary Approaches

c. 17.00 Wine Reception

CAS, Arkæologi, Materials, Culture and Heritage