The Department of Anthropology Colloquium Series presents:

"A Poeisis of Cessation: Yolmo Buddhist Engagements with Death, Ritual, and Mourning"
with Robert Desjarlais, Professor of Anthropology, and Alice Ilchmann Chair in International and Comparative Studies, Sarah Lawrence College

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Room 3323

What can the processes associated with living, dying, and death tell us about how certain features of human existence – such as consciousness, identity, memory, agency, desire, longing, and bodiliness – are enacted and dissolved through a range of social, ritual, and communicative practices? Desjarlais's talk will explore orientations to death, loss, and mourning among Yolmo people, an ethnically Tibetan Buddhist people from the Yolmo region of Nepal. “The dead are attached to the living, and the living are attached to the dead,” runs one Yolmo saying. The task of the living is to cut off the deceased from their world, to diminish his attachment to that world, to the point of a zero degree desire. The living and the recently dead are thus engaged in delicate technologies of cessation and transformation. Running through these efforts is a strong sense of creative making and fashioning. Dying calls for an active patterning of self and other, as do the funerary rites. An element of poiesis courses through Yolmo responses to death. There is a creative making, a generative fashioning of sense and consciousness, that serves to aid the deceased’s plight, while tending to the ache of grief and longing.

For further information, please contact Norma Miranda, or 949-824-7602.

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