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Arts & Culture

Cosmological Visionaries: Shamans, Scientists, and Climate Change at the Ethnic Borderlands of China and Russia


Cosmological Visionaries is a 6-year project funded by the European Research Council Synergy Grant scheme.

It is comprised of two synergistically mirrored teams, the China Team led by Katherine Swancutt, Project Lead and Principal Investigator at King’s College London, and the Russia Team led by Olga Ulturgasheva, Principal Investigator at the University of Manchester.

Cosmological Visionaries explores what global environmental initiatives of the future will look like and sets forth two key research questions:

  1. How can scientists, shamans, priests, and other indigenous holders of animistic knowledge collaborate in regions of climatic vulnerability
  2. What are the geopolitics of climate change and the policies that surround it?

Starting from the position that cosmology often evokes religious ways of knowing or being, the project brings together anthropologists, ethnologists, historians and philosophers of science and ethics, religious studies experts, space and satellite researchers, indigenous leaders and environmental scientists to examine how climate change is managed at the ethnic borderlands of China and Russia.

Photo credit: Professor Katherine Swancutt

Project status: Ongoing

Principal Investigator



Funding Body: European Research Council

Amount: £6,000,000

Period: September 2020 - August 2026