Cosmological Visionaries: Shamans, Scientists, and Climate Change at the Ethnic Borderlands of China and Russia

Project Details


Cosmological Visionaries (COSMOVIS) explores what global environmental initiatives of the future will look like, by asking:
(1) How can scientists, shamans, priests, and other indigenous holders of animistic knowledge collaborate in regions of climatic vulnerability and
(2) What are the geopolitics of climate change and the policies that surround it?
Starting from the position that cosmology often evokes religious ways of knowing or being, the project brings together anthropologists, ethnologists, historians and philosophers of science and ethics, religious studies experts, space and satellite researchers, indigenous leaders and environmental scientists to examine how climate change is managed at the ethnic borderlands of China and Russia. Our project is an academic and a practical intervention driven by two research teams – the China Team and the Russia Team – with a fourfold methodology. Firstly, we will uncover the scientific and indigenous views on climate change in Southwest China and Siberia. Secondly, we will mobilise dialogues between scientists and animistic peoples to mutually inform their approaches to climate change. Thirdly, we will explore how collaboration can benefit both parties. Fourthly, we will map the policies and geopolitics of climate change in China and Russia. Scientists who collaborate with indigenous peoples can get more subtle data than when working alone. Indigenous persons who supply scientists with advice and logistical help can source scientific initiatives for managing local climate change. This feedback loop between scientists and indigenous peoples, advocating for each other, can enable religious leaders and scientists to translate shared findings into visions that everyone can commit to.

It will be driven by two research teams, one in Russia led by Dr Ulturgasheva and one in China led by Dr Katherine Swancutt (KCL).

The project is funded by the European Research Council
Effective start/end date1/09/2031/08/26

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Gender in Decolonial Indigenous Perspective

    Ulturgasheva, O., 19 Oct 2023, The Cambridge Handbook of the Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality. McCallum, C., Posocco, S. & Fotta, M. (eds.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 370-394 25 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    Open Access
    160 Downloads (Pure)
  • Activating Cosmo-Geo-Analytics: Anthropocene, Arctics and Cryocide

    Ulturgasheva, O., 15 Apr 2022, Risky Futures: Climate, Geopolitics and Local Realities in the Uncertain Circumpolar North. Vol. 6. p. 20-39 20 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

  • Beyond Curses: In the midts of turbulent Kyzyl

    Stelmaszyk, M., 1 Apr 2022, Shamanism in Siberia: Sound and Turbulence in Cursing Practices in Tuva. Stelmaszyk, M. (ed.). London: Routledge, p. 130-149 19 p. (Routledge Contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe Series).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    31 Downloads (Pure)