Chapter 6 narrates a shamanic initiation and describes the family history that is produced in the process of diagnosing the initiate’s shamanic calling. In Yuri’s initiation we see the stakes of embracing one historical genre over another. For Yuri, whose father is Buryat and his mother Russian, whether or not he accepts a shamanic genealogical genre of the past is a matter of life or death for him and his family. This chapter illustrates the kind of relationships to the past that shamanic practices can build, and shows how engaging with historical genres can transform conceptions of self for post-Soviet subjects. The shamanic genre critiques the kind of self, the New Soviet Person, that Soviet modernism sought to cultivate. Through the process of diagnosing a calling and initiation, the aspiring shaman remakes themselves into porous subject, subjected to the will of their ancestors.
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