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Local primatologies in central Africa

Tamara Giles-Vernick 1, *
* Corresponding author
Abstract : The present essay suggests how anthropological-historical investigation of « local primatologies » can simultaneously reveal central Africans’ accumulated and changing knowledge of primate food consumption, ecologies and behavior and their situationally-produced frames for understanding what it means for nonhuman primates to be « almost like people ». The term « local primatologies » refers to how lay people living in proximity to nonhuman primates observe them in order to gain insight into their social relations and behaviors. The term convenes to and extends decades-long debates in the social sciences which have addressed the promises and challenges of interpreting « local ecological knowledge ». Here I examine Central Africans’ narratives and engagements with nonhuman primates, and particularly great apes, to reveal how they offer historically contingent understandings of humanity and animality, as well as life and death. This essay concludes with some reflections about how such local primatologies may provide grounds upon which to premise the protection of nonhuman primates.
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 8:00:56 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 10:28:46 PM

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Tamara Giles-Vernick. Local primatologies in central Africa. Cahiers d'anthropologie sociale, Paris: l'Herne, 2019, N° 18 (1), pp.177-186. ⟨10.3917/cas.018.0177⟩. ⟨pasteur-03264089⟩

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