Kristen Angela Livera starts a thesis as FNRS research fellow

Ethnographies multi-espèces

Kristen Angela Livera, a researcher in the MEAM group, has just been awarded an FNRS (Fonds National pour la Recherche Scientifique) fellowship to carry out a thesis project in the Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Sociale et Culturelle, under the supervision of Professor Véronique Servais.

Kristen Angela Livera's project is entitled : Magical Madurese Pigeon Whistles: How Music Mediates Multispecies Relations and Resounds Across Socio-Political Boundaries

This study focuses on multi-species ethnographies, a fast-growing field in contemporary anthropology. One of the challenges of this approach is to examine how pigeons influence relationships within Madura society (Madura is an Indonesian island). The methodology explores inter-species communication in the context of a singular form of pigeon racing, where magic whistles facilitate bonds of loyalty between pigeon fancier and pigeon. The ethnography also explores magico-religious practices, focusing on somatic practices such as the dimension of sound produced by magic whistles and the musical instruments used to maintain inter-species bonds. The author also plans to explore somatic practices linked to the daily maintenance of pigeon lofts, during which magic, herbs and amulets contribute to the protection of both pigeon and breeder. This approach reveals how the relationship between Madurian pigeons and breeders is embedded in broader concepts of security, where the same musical instruments are used in community ceremonies that precede pigeon races and in relation to the concept of neighborhood patrol. In this way, Madurian pigeons play a crucial role as a point of convergence between music, politics and magic.

Genesis of the project

A recent graduate of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kristen Angela Livera holds a Master's degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology. As an Erasmus Belgica exchange student at ULiège, she enriched her ecophilosophical practices alongside philosopher Vinciane Despret, anthropologist Véronique Servais, and folklorist Françoise Lempereur.

Inter-species communication, in particular through sound and the sensory domain, is the common thread running through Kristen's research projects.



Master's thesis: "Attuning to Trans-Species Pidgin Articulations: Pigeon Racing as a Counter-Linguistic Turn in Human-Animal Relations. "

Sponsors: Dr. Filip De Boeck (KULeuven) and Dr. Françoise Lempereur (Université de Liège)

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