Virginie Vaté: Research & CV

Bewildering Boar: Changing Cosmopolitics of Hunt in Europe and Beyond

Research project: Bewildering boars


Virginie Vaté is a researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (C.N.R.S), where she is a member of the GSRL (Groupe “Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités” UMR 8582). As of February 2018, she is collaborating in the Tandem project of the CEFRES entitled “Bewildering Boar: Changing Cosmopolitics of the Hunt in Europe and Beyond”.

Virginie Vaté defended her PhD at the Department of Anthropology of the University of Paris X Nanterre in 2003. In 2003 and from 2004 to 2007, she was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany, where she is still an associate researcher (in the Department “Integration and Conflict”). In 2004, she was awarded a Fyssen postdoctoral grant, during which she took part in the activities of the CIERA (Centre Interuniversitaire d’Etudes et de Recherches autochtones) at the University Laval, Quebec, Canada. In 2009, she received the bronze medal of the CNRS.

She has collaborated in a number of national and international collective research projects. Most recently, she is a principal investigator for the project “Orthodox Christianity and Indigenous People in Contemporary Alaska and Chukotka” (OCIP), which is supported by the Paul-Emile Victor Institute (IPEV).

In her research to date, Virginie Vaté has focused on religious practices in different locations of the Bering Strait region (Chukotka, Russia and Alaska, USA). In her doctoral dissertation, she analyzed Chukchi reindeer herding and sea-mammal hunting rituals in Chukotka, paying particular attention to the significance of gender and to the relation of humans to ‘nature’. Later, she looked at conversion to Christianity among indigenous people of Chukotka and how Christianity enables indigenous people of Alaska to connect with indigenous people of Chukotka (in the A.N.R. MYSTOU project, headed by C. Pons). In the OCIP project, she and her collaborator, Dr Marie-Amélie Salabelle, are conducting ethnographic research in the Bering Strait region with the aim of comparing the relations of the indigenous people of Chukotka and Alaska to Orthodox Christianity. Vaté’s most recent field-research was conducted in Kodiak, Alaska, in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

The “Bewildering Boar” project brings V. Vaté back to the study of human-animal relations but in a different context. She plans to explore practices, knowledge and discourses surrounding the wild boar in the region of Burgundy, France. She is particularly interested in how the wild boar is located at the centre of multiple controversies, creating a dissonance between a variety of actors, including farmers, hunters, ecologists, political leaders, and government officials – categories of actors that are neither clearly bounded nor internally unified. As a point of departure in exploring practices and debates concerning wildlife management and human relations to animals in Europe more generally, the wild boar represents a particularly intriguing case study, provoking passionate debates in the public that are regularly reflected in the media.



Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Anthropology, 2003, University of Paris X-Nanterre.

DEA (diplôme d’études appliquées) in Anthropology, 1996, University of Paris X-Nanterre.

Maîtrise (M.A.) in Anthropology, 1995, University of Paris X-Nanterre.

Licence in Russian Language and Literature, 1993, University of Paris IV-Sorbonne.

DEUG (diplôme d’études universitaires générales) in English Language and Literature, 1992, University of Paris X-Nanterre.

Selected publications since 2009
Edited volumes & edited special issues of journals

2013 [paperback in 2015] co-editor with D. G. Anderson & R. P. Wishart of About the Hearth: Perspectives on the Home, Hearth and Household in the Circumpolar North, New York & Oxford, Berghahn, 324 pp.

2010 Guest editor, with J.O. Habeck & O. Povoroznyuk, of a special issue of the journal Anthropology of East Europe Review 28 (2), entitled Gender Shift in the Russian North.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

2013 (with P. Plattet & T. Wendling), « La prise du don. Jeux rituels et prix dans le Nord-Est sibérien », K. Buffetrille, Jean-Luc Lambert, Nathalie Luca & Anne de Sales (eds), D’une anthropologie du chamanisme vers une anthropologie du croire. Hommage à l’œuvre de Roberte Hamayon, special issue of Etudes Mongoles, Sibériennes, Centrasiatiques et Tibétaines, pp. 483-514.

Peer-reviewed chapters in edited volumes

2013 “Building a Home for the Hearth: An Analysis of a Chukchi Reindeer Herding Ritual”, in D.G. Anderson, R.P. Wishart & V. Vaté (eds), About the Hearth: Perspectives on the Home, Hearth and Household in the Circumpolar North, New York & Oxford, Berghahn, pp. 183-199.

2011 (with G. Diachkova) “From Collective Enthusiasm to Individual Self-Realization: History and Life Experiences of the House of Culture of Anadyr (Chukotka)”, in B. Donahoe & J.O. Habeck (eds), Reconstructing the House of Culture: Community, Self, and the Makings of Culture in Russia and Beyond, New York & Oxford, Berghahn, pp. 29-54.

2011 (with B. Donahoe, J.O. Habeck, A. Halemba, K. Istomin & I. Santha). “Research Design and Methodology of the Comparative Research Project ‘The Social Significance of the House of Culture’”, in B. Donahoe & J.O. Habeck (eds), Reconstructing the House of Culture: Community, Self, and the Makings of Culture in Russia and Beyond, New York & Oxford, Berghahn, pp. 277-291.

2011 “Dwelling in the Landscape among the Reindeer Chukchis”, in P. Jordan (ed), Landscape and Culture in Northern Eurasia, Walnut Creek, CA, Left Coast Press, pp. 135-160.

2009 “Redefining Chukchi Practices in Contexts of Conversion to Pentecostalism (Russian North)”, in Mathijs Pelkmans (ed), Christian Conversion after Socialism: Disruptions, Modernisms and Technologies of Faith, New York & Oxford, Berghahn, pp. 39-57.

Chapters in edited volumes

2013 “Epilogue. L’Enfer, c’est les autres? Distance, relation à autrui et à Jésus des convertis au protestantisme évangélique”, in C. Pons (ed.), Jésus, moi et les autres. La construction collective d’une relation personnelle à Jésus dans les églises évangéliques : Europe, Océanie, Maghreb, Paris, CNRS editions, pp. 259-271.

Discussion published in a peer-reviewed journal

2017 « Forum: Religion, Anthropology and the « Anthropology of Religion » (1) », Antropologicheskij forum, 34, pp. 59-68.