Nir Avieli

Ben-Gurion University

Prof. Nir Avieli is a cultural anthropologist. Avieli has been conducting ethnographic research in Vietnam since the late 1990’s, focusing on food and foodways. Within the research group he will expand the scope of his research on animals in contemporary Vietnamese society in several directions. He will further explore the social categorization of the edible and inedible in Vietnam and the social and cultural contexts that allow and even enhance transgression of prohibitions and taboos relating to animal meat, emphasizing the role played by age and gender in such processes and contexts. He will study the changing cultural meanings and social positions of water buffaloes, a central pillar of traditional Vietnamese farming and farming society, vis-a-vis agricultural modernization. He will explore the changing trends regarding animals in the domestic sphere in contemporary Vietnam and the shift from “decorative animals” (such golden fish and songbirds) to pets, mainly dogs and cats. He will also investigate continuity and change in rituals that involve dragons and unicorns, mythical animals that materialize in various ways in contemporary ritual.