Michael Cepek

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Texas, San Antonio, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9869

Approve Date

May 1, 2019

Project Title

Cepek, Michael (Texas, San Antonio, U. of) "Those Who Have Emerged: History and Value in Cofán Shamanism"

I propose to do an ethnographic study of the relationship between history and value in the shamanic practice of the indigenous Cof’n people of eastern Ecuador. Basing myself in the village of Duvuno for six months, I will do qualitative research with Cof’n shamans, or di’sha’cho (those who have emerged), to accomplish a double goal: to produce an in-depth account of Cof’n socio-cosmological practice and to develop a value-based approach to anthropological analysis. My project aims to generate new insights regarding a broad conceptual question: How is value produced through the interplay between the intentional actions of members of a social group and that group’s unintended encounters with human and nonhuman others? The social group in question includes the residents of Duvuno and shamans from both Duvuno and other Cof’n villages. The relevant others are the non-Cof’n peoples and beings who have simultaneously attacked and offered ambivalent powers to the Cof’n over the past 500 years. After investigating how Cof’n people and non-Cof’n actors and forces interact to produce shamanic value, I will complete an ethnographic monograph that will contribute to the literature on Amazonian shamanism and the anthropology of ethics, morality, and productive action.