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Tragic SpiritsShamanism, Memory, and Gender in Contemporary Mongolia$
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Manduhai Buyandelger

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226086552

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226013091.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Incomplete Lives

Incomplete Lives

(p.233) Seven Incomplete Lives
Tragic Spirits

Manduhai Buyandelger

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 7 explores the politics of making memories and revealing forgetting. It takes the reader through the journeys of a shamanic client as she travels to consult with numerous shamans and worship her forgotten origin spirits in the hope of alleviating her misfortunes. The quest to resolve one’s misfortunes gradually evolves into the work of making memories of the past. Acutely aware of their ignorance, clients solicit multiple contested opinions, piece knowledge together, and diagnose lacunae. Through this process, the client profiled in this chapter discovers the forgotten spirits of female ancestors whose identities and whose links to her past are unknowable due to centuries of violence and the patriarchal structure of remembering. Nevertheless, the client builds a genealogy from the stories of loss, love, and misfortune, and this genealogy is different from conventional genealogies that center on the names of males. This chapter’s attention to the link between gender and forgetting takes the issue of memory beyond the impact of violence, geopolitics, and displacement. The author shows how individuals reach the brink of remembering and knowing, and what it means to live with lost knowledge and a perpetual production of the past that is unsettled and unsettling.

Keywords:   Shamanic errors, Loss, Clients, Love, Knowledge, Female ancestor, Loss of Knowledge, Ignorance, Production of the past

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