No past, no present: A critical-Nayaka perspective on cultural remembering

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


By means of an ethnographic analysis of Nayaka life stories and trance invocations, I revisit the common wisdom that cultures classed as "immediate-return hunter-gatherers" show little interest in the past. I argue that Nayaka are not interested in the past in the common Eurocentric understanding thereof. They are interested, however, in a past filtered through their own sensibilities. Their specific case supports a broader critique of studying ways of remembering the past in terms of a Eurocentric past-present distinction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-421
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Ethnologist
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2004


  • Cultural remembering
  • History
  • Hunter-gatherers
  • Nayaka
  • Past
  • Spirit possession
  • Time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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