How a storm feels: storying climate change in the Eastern Himalayas
chapterposted on 2023-06-15, 20:40 authored by Alexander Aisher
Like other creatures of the Anthropocene, anthropogenic climate change demands a double movement at once towards a more human-centred account of the world, and a deeper recognition of the distribution of human beings through other-than-human forms of life. Like other extreme events, they also challenge established boundaries between human and other-than-human forms of life. This chapter articulates a single storm approaching a village at dusk, in the remote uplands of the tribal state of Arunachal Pradesh. Attending to the verbal and ritual exchanges among villagers gathered in a longhouse as the storm approaches, as they challenge and seek to ritually redirect it away from the village, the chapter explores the constitution of this storm as a vengeful storm-that-feels. Through a genealogy of emotion extending across a long indigenous oral history, the chapter locates a fundamental value, shared by humans and ecological sovereignties embodied by the storm: the value of refuge. For humans, this takes the form of longhouse in a village; for spirit-owners of the wild, who sent the storm, this takes the form of a mountain lake. A perspectivist vision comes into view of the deep value, here in the uplands, of refuge, and its violent counterpoint: the invaded refuge. The genealogy also reveals the importance of story in the constitution of places humans co-create best by setting them aside.
- Published version
Book titleCooling Down: Local Responses to Global Climate Change
Department affiliated with
- Anthropology Publications
Full text available