Saskia Adelle Abrahms-Kavunenko

Saskia Adelle Abrahms-Kavunenko


Dr Saskia Abrahms-Kavunenko is an anthropologist and the author of Enlightenment and the Gasping City. She has published on the topics of Buddhism, shamanism, postsocialism, economic anthropology, global warming and pollution, doubt, and materiality in Mongolia and India. She has carried out extensive research on Buddhism and other religious traditions in both Australia and Mongolia, particularly as they relate to uncertainty, pollution and the more-than-human world. She is currently a Research Fellow within the Center for Contemporary Buddhist Studies and the co-founder of Cenote (seh-notay) a travelling multi-disciplinary residency program committed to bridging the communicative gap that yawns ever wider between human cultures and the living systems and intelligences which support and co-constitute our existence. She is dedicated to the role of anthropologist as co-communicator and collaborative agent. Her work is situated at intersections between environmental changes and cultural praxis, in multi-scalar and trans-species contexts.

Dr Abrahms-Kavunenko has carried out research projects at The University of Edinburgh, The University of Erfurt, New York University Shanghai and The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. Her current project titled: ‘Impermanent – Imperishable: Plastics and Praxis among Buddhists in Oceania’ looks at how Buddhists in Oceania relate to radical permeability and toxicity amidst the changing ecosystems on the planet. How do Buddhist practices which enhance the awareness of the permeability of the human body incorporate, challenge and/or reject how Buddhists relate to the presence of plastics in the Anthropocene?

Past research projects include:

'Residue: Mongolian Buddhist Waste and the Recalcitrant Materiality of Blessings', Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the University of Copenhagen, 2020-2022.

‘Materializing Prosperity: Doubt, Potency and Economic Prosperity in Ulaanbaatar’, The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, The University of Edinburgh, 2020.

‘Intangible Causes, Ambiguous Materials: Constellated Cosmologies of Urban Inequalities‘, Max-Weber-Kolleg, The University of Erfurt, 2019-2020.

‘Shrouded Fortunes: Materiality, Religion and Doubt’, New York University, Shanghai 2017-2019.

‘New Buddhist Economies in Mongolia: Accrual, Dispersal and the Vicissitudes of Wealth’, Postdoctoral Research Project working within the group ‘Buddhist Temple Economies in Urban Asia’ at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology 2014-2017.

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