SPRING 2011. Working on my book manuscript, teaching my first class at the University of Michigan, a seminar titled Shamans, Nomads, and Commissars: Introduction to North Asia, and preparing my next seminar, Anthropology of Death and the Afterlife.
FALL 2011. I am "on tour" this fall! My first lecture is at the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies here in Michigan, then American Anthropological Association in New Orleans, followed by the Central Eurasian Studies Meeting, and finally, American Museum of Natural History in New York. See Presentations for details.
SPRING 2010. I have successfully defended my dissertation. In September 2010, I will be joining Departments of Anthropology and Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Assistant Professor with the Michigan Society of Fellows. I have also been awarded Mellon/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowship.
FALL 2009. Dissertation draft ready! See Film Screenings and Conference Presentations for details on upcoming talks and screenings: Rubin Foundation Scholars Seminar (New York), Centre d'études mongoles et sibériennes (Paris), Russian Futures (Duke University), and International Association for Tibetan Studies (Vancouver, BC).
AUGUST 2009. Two new film reviews added. "In Pursuit of the Siberian Shaman" is reviewed by the Sakha (Yakut) ethnographer Ul'iana Vinokurova (in Russian, translation forthcoming). "Join Me in Shambhala" is reviewed by Tibetologist Hubert Decleer.
JULY 2009. My article "Pilgrims, Fieldworkers, and Secret Agents: Buryat Buddhologists and the History of an Eurasian Imaginary" has come out in Inner Asia 11(1): 23-45. Keywords: Russia, Buryatia, Eurasia, Tibet, Russian Orientalism, Buddhism, transnational religion, cultural politics, travel literature, history of anthropology.
MAY 2009. I am happy to announce that I have been awarded the following fellowships for my final year of dissertation writing: Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, and NYU Humanities Initiative Fellowship.
MARCH 2009. Film Update: The Shaman Show will screen at the RAI Ethnographic Film Festival in Leeds.In Pursuit of the Siberian Shaman will screen at the State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw, Linden State Museum of Ethnology in Stuttgart, and at the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences in China.
JANUARY 2009. Back to NYC after the most intense twelve months of my life, dealing with cultural adjustment, and starting to dissertate full-time.
FALL 2008. Back to India to finish up the Fulbright project and then back to Russia to do archival research. Lecturing and screening films in Moscow (RGGU, Seminars in Visual and Historical Anthropology), St.Petersburg (SpBGU, School of Visual Sociology and Department of Oriental Studies), Delhi Ethnographic Film Festival. Off for a final refresher in the Andaman Islands.
AUGUST 2008. My article "Remapping Sacred Landscapes: Shamanic Tourism and Cultural Production in the Olknon Island" has come out in Sibirica: Journal of Siberian Studies, 7(2), 2008 pp. 23-46. It is designed to be read and taught together with In Pursuit of the Siberian Shaman (aka The Shaman Show), as it theorizes the issues addressed visually in the film. [Keywords: globalization, heritage, indigeneity, production of identity, sacred landscape, Siberia, shamanism, tourism].
JULY 2008. Continuing intensive fieldwork in Siberia. Traveled widely around ethnic Buryatia, collecting ethnographic materials. Presented some preliminary research from India at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Watched the solar eclipse and survived an earthquake at the Lake Baikal.
JUNE 2008. I am leaving monsoon-
stricken India to start the Siberian part of this project. I will be in Moscow, St.Petersburg, and Buryatia over the summer. I will NOT go to China, because they canceled our congress in Kunming and closed Tibet.
Film Updates: "The Shaman Show" will premiere at the Nordic Anthropological Film Festival (NAFA) in Iceland. "Join Me in Shambhala" just screened in seven cities around Poland. "In Pursuit of the Siberian Shaman" screened at the Dialektus Film Festival in Hungary.
MAY 2008. Back from Nepal, where I had a productive film screening at the fellow Fulbright office and visited Buddhist sites in the Kathmandu Valley. I have also visited monasteries in remote parts of Himachal Pradesh, such as Lahaul Valley via the spectacular Rohtang pass (13,050ft, 4000m), which is still partially blocked by snow.
APRIL 2008. Back to Dharamsala, I continue to interview, film, amass fieldnotes, and obsessively back up all of the above. I am also preparing for a field trip into a more remote Himalayan area to visit some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in India as well as a trip to pilgrimage sites in Nepal.
MARCH 2008. Descended from the still snowy Himalayas to the sun-scorched Rajasthan to present a fieldwork report "North Asia Meets South Asia: Buryat Buddhists in India" at the Annual Fulbright Conference in Jaipur. After the conference, I am taking some time off to travel around Rajasthan heading west to the Great Thar Desert.
FEBRUARY 2008. I am following pilgrims and monks, who, far from being a sedentary community, have now dispersed all over India on the Buddhist circuit, from Bodhgaya to Dharamsala. I have chosen the northern route and relocated to the Himalayas to continue my research here for the next few months.
JANUARY 2008. After visiting Delhi, Sarnath and Jaipur, I have arrived at my fieldsite in Drepung Gomang Buddhist monastery in Karnataka, South India. Dalai Lama is here for the opening of the new temple, and I have been filming his meetings with pilgrims and monks.
DECEMBER 2007. I am on my way to start my Fulbright project in India, with a brief stint in Thailand and Laos to research transnational Buddhism.
NOVEMBER 2007. Finally the moment has come! I am wrapping things up here in New York and will soon depart for the field again. With the support from the Fulbright Fellowship and Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, I will be doing research in India and Siberia for the next 12 to 15 months.
OCTOBER 2007. We have completed a short version of the Siberian shaman film. "The Shaman Show" (39 min) will soon be available for distribution.
SEPTEMBER 2007. I'm away in Finland for the Viscult 2007 Festival. Tune in to the festival's live streaming at http://www.pkey.fi/viscult/
NEW! I am constantly expanding my list of ethnographic festivals around the world as well as adding more of my own reviews as I go to new festivals.
SUMMER 2007. I am opening the roof of my New York City apartment for CineTrance: Summer Rooftop Screenings, a weekly series of documentary films on religion and spirituality. The event will take place every Friday at 8PM.
I have also completed my comprehensive exams, so I'm a Ph.D.Candidate now!
MAY 2007. A new film review added.
APRIL 2007. A screening is upcoming in New York! April 13, 5:20PM at Columbia University, 420 West 118th Street,
Room #1201. I will be there doing Q&A.
MARCH 2007. The film has been awarded two prizes at the Eyes and Lenses IV in Poland: Second Prize founded by the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology and the Audience Award.
JANUARY 2007. Another film review has been published in Visual Anthropology.
FALL-WINTER 2006. I'm scheduled to speak at the following CONFERENCES.
SEPTEMBER 2006. The first film review has just appeared in the Sacred Hoop Magazine from the UK.
My film In Pursuit of the Siberian Shaman is now released and distributed by Documentary Educational Resources.
JUNE-AUGUST 2006. Got a FLAS fellowship to do Intensive Summer Tibetan at the University of Virginia. Tashi Delek!
SPRING 2006.I'm off first to France and then to Germany to present my film at the Bilan du Film Ethnographique and Göttingen International Film Festival.
MARCH 9TH. A sneak-peek premiere of In Pursuit of the Siberian Shaman in NYC! At the Tibet House, 7PM, 22 W.15th St.
SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER 2005. Back to NYC: in between my PhD coursework, teaching, and editing the film, I'm slowly (but surely) adding the material on my field trip to Bombay and Kerala, so please check back-it will eventually get done!
JULY-AUGUST 2005. I'm leaving July 9th to do a research project in Kerala, India. Stay tuned for field reports.
MAY-JUNE 2005. My new film about a Buryat shaman, working title In Pursuit of the Siberian Shaman, is currently in post-production! We are fundraising to complete the post-production. All donations are through our fiscal sponsor, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization Documentary Educational Resources. Synopsis of the film is available at www.der.org/donate.
JOIN ME IN SHAMBHALA is screening at the International Buddhist Film Festival in San Francisco on 2/12.
JANUARY 2005. Join me in Ecuador! New Years on the Pacific Coast followed by the expedition to Amazonian shamans.
JUNE-JULY 2004. Conducting a solo field expedition in southern Siberia, investigating Buryat shamanism on both sides of Lake Baikal. I am living with a Buryat shaman in the Olkhon Island region and shooting a documentary.
Delivered a speech at the opening of the temple of Yelo Rinpoche in Ulan-Ude. The construction of this temple, which initially brought me to Buryatia in 2001, is finally complete!
NOVEMBER-MAY 2004. Ploughing through the first year of the PhD requirements. Appear to be dead to the world.
JOIN ME IN SHAMBHALA, however, is not dead yet and is going into its third year of the festival circuit by playing at the Heard Museum Indigenous Film Festival, Phoenix, AZ, June 19.
OCTOBER 2003. JOIN ME IN SHAMBHALA is screening at "Religion Today," 6th International Festival of Cinema and Religion. Trento, Italy, October 22-26.
SEPTEMBER 2003. I have celebrated my ten-year cycle of residing in various rather large urban centers (Moscow, Washington DC, Lyon, and Manchester) by settling in a radically different form of civilization: New York. New York...
JUNE-AUGUST 2003. Lost in Central America (Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize) and Mexico.
APRIL 2003. Signed the offer to do my PhD in Cultural Anthropology at New York University, starting next fall.
MARCH 2003. Traveling and filming in Cambodia and Thailand. Reports are upcoming in the <field> section.
"JOIN ME IN SHAMBHALA"
will have two more screenings in March.
1. March 1, 5:00 pm. DC Independent Film Festival, Odeon Cineplex, 4000 Wisconsin Avenue,corner of Upton street (Metro:Tenleytown), Washington DC.
2. March 28, 7:15 pm. Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, Hilton, 1335 6th Ave,Hudson Suite, New York.
JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2003. Working on a Navajo-Buryat shaman exchange and documentary project, taking place in the summer 2003. A group of Navajo medicine men will travel to South Siberia to meet with indigenous shamans. We are currently fundraising for the shamans' travel and the film. If you're interested to contribute towards the project, please contact me. All donations are tax exempt.
NOVEMBER 2002. "JOIN ME IN SHAMBHALA" will be screening at Visions Cinema, in Washington DC, November 26th, 6:50 pm, and at the American Anthropological Association film festival in New Orleans, November 23rd, 3:30 PM
OCTOBER 2002. "JOIN ME IN SHAMBHALA" finally has a distributor! It is now available from Documentary Educational Resources. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-569-66-21.
SEPTEMBER 2002. Stayed on the Arctic circle after all the festival participants left. With the help of the regional TV station, organized an expedition to go further North to film the Nenets - the reindeer herding nomads living in the tundra. Go to <field>, click on 'Salekhard' to read the full story.
AUGUST 2002. Went to Salekhard, a city on the Arctic circle in Western Siberia to screen at the Third Russian Festival of Anthropological Films. Presented a paper, "Beyond Realism: Representing Religious Experience in Ethnographic Film."
JULY 2002. Visited the Navajo Nation in Arizona. Researched the connections and possible cultural exchange between Native American medicine men and Native Siberian shamans.
"JOIN ME IN SHAMBHALA" got an award! "For Outstanding Scientific Documentation" at the Pärnu Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival.
JUNE 2002. Started teaching myself basic web design. Launched this site.