“Those Who Feed”: Interspecies Futurities in Indigenous Siberia
Please join the Harriman Institute for a Director’s Seminar with Mellon Teaching Fellow at the Harriman Institute and Lecturer in Anthropology Tyler Adkins. Moderated by Harriman Director, Valentina Izmirlieva.
Is caring for domestic animals compatible with eating them? Based on nearly two years of ethnographic fieldwork in Siberia’s Altai Republic, this talk examines the tangled relations of care and violence between Indigenous Altai pastoralists and the livestock on whom their way of life depends. Parsing the Altai expression mal-ash azyraar, or literally, “to feed livestock,” Dr. Adkins argues that “feeding” animals in Altai society cannot be understood as a simple concrete act, nor as an abstract mode of relation. Instead, feeding—and implicitly eating—animals is a situation of temporal entanglement or co-futurity: to feed animals is to share a future with them, exposing the feeder to all of the potential benefits and ills that this future may bring.
Tyler Adkins is a Mellon Teaching Fellow at the Harriman Institute. His work examines the complex temporalities and interspecies entanglements of eating, cooking, and feeding in the Indigenous Altai community of Siberia. Dr. Adkins received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Princeton University in 2022.