Human-Animal Relationships in San and Hunter-Gatherer Cosmology, Volume II

Imagining and Experiencing Ontological Mutability

  • Mathias Guenther

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Mathias Guenther
    Pages 1-7
  3. Mathias Guenther
    Pages 43-68
  4. Mathias Guenther
    Pages 105-153
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 177-210

About this book


Exploring a hitherto unexamined aspect of San cosmology, Mathias Guenther’s two volumes on hunter-animal relations in San cosmology link “new Animism” with Khoisan Studies, providing valuable insights for Khoisan Studies and San culture, but also for anthropological theory, relational ontology, folklorists, historians, literary critics and art historians.

Building from the examinations of San myth and contemporary culture in Volume I, Volume II considers the experiential implications of a cosmology in which ontological mutability—ambiguity and inconstancy—hold sway. As he considers how people experience ontological mutability and deal with profound identity issues mentally and affectively, Guenther explores three primary areas: general receptiveness to ontological ambiguity; the impact of the experience of transformation (both virtual/vicarious and actual/direct); and the intersection of the mythic, spirit world with reality. Through a comparative consideration of animistic cosmology amongst the San, Bantu-speakers and the Inuit of Canada’s eastern Arctic, alongside a discussion of animistic currents in Western humanities and ethology, Guenther clearly paints the relative strengths and weaknesses of New Animism discourse, particularly in relation to San ontology and cosmology, but with overarching relevance.


San cosmology Khoisan Studies African folklore Non-Bantu peoples Southern Africa relational ontology new Animism

Authors and affiliations

  • Mathias Guenther
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyWilfrid Laurier UniversityOntarioCanada

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-21185-1
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-21186-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site