Fiskesjö to Discuss New Book at March Library Event

January 6, 2022

Magnus Fiskesjö, Associate Professor of Anthropology, recently published a new book titled Stories from an Ancient Land: Perspectives on Wa History and Culture.  As part of Cornell University Library's "Chats in the Stacks" book talk series, Professor Fiskesjö will discuss his book on Thursday, March 17th.  Visit the Cornell Events Page for details.

About the book:  The Wa people have a rich civilization of their own, and a deep history in the mountains of Southeast Asia. Their mythology suggests their land is the first place inhabited by humans, which they care for on behalf of the world. This book introduces aspects of Wa culture, including their approach to the world’s troubles and the lessons others might learn from it. It also presents a new interpretation of Wa headhunting, questioning explanations that see it as a primitive custom, and instead placing it within the fraught history of the last few centuries.

Fiskesjö added, "My new book is about the Wa people, who see themselves as the caretakers of the world, because they were the first people on Earth. Since the 1950s, their ancient land has been annexed by China and Burma. The book is about Wa cosmology, xenology and sociality, about fieldwork and participant intoxication, about the political anthropology of standing your ground, about how the Wa borrowed headhunting from China, about Wa heritage and Chinese cultural appropriation, and much more."

You can find Professor Fiskesjö's book at Berghahn Books or at the Cornell Library. 

Fiskesjö, Magnus. Stories from an Ancient Land: Perspectives on Wa History and Culture. (Berghahn: August 2021)
Series: Asian Anthropologies. ISBN  978-1-78920-887-0; eISBN 978-1-78920-888-7.

Stories from an Ancient Land book cover