The focus of this book is on the phenomenon of cursing in shamanic practice and everyday life in Tuva, a former Soviet republic in Siberia. Based on extensive anthropological fieldwork where the author interacted with a wide range of people involved in cursing practices, the book examines Tuvans’ lived experience of cursing and shamanism, thereby providing deep insights into Tuvans’ intimate and social worlds. It highlights especially the centrality of sound: how interactions between humans and non-humans are brought about through an array of sonic phenomena, such as musical sounds, sounds within words and non-linguistic vocalisations, and how such sonic phenomena are a key part of dramatic cursing events and wider shamanic performance and ritual, involving humans and spirits alike. Overall, the book reveals a great deal about occult practices and about social change in post-Soviet Tuva.


Chapter 6 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF at https://www.taylorfrancis.com under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) 4.0 license.

chapter |24 pages


Encountering Tuvan curse

part I|66 pages

Curses and shamanic practice

chapter 1|22 pages

In the midst of cursing battles

Curses, proximity and sociocosmic drama

chapter 2|21 pages

The artisans of curses

Characteristics of shamanic practice in Tuva

chapter 3|21 pages

Cursed person(hood)

part II|58 pages

Sound and turbulence

chapter 4|20 pages

My drum is thunder

Cursing rituals, turbulence and the sound of drums

chapter 5|17 pages

Voiced into being

The power of sound and shamanic voice in the cursing rituals

chapter 6|19 pages

Beyond curses

In the midst of turbulent Kyzyl