Research Associate

Virginie Vaté

Virginie will ethnographically document human-boar relations in northeastern France and analyze how various definitions of the boar illustrate the diversity of perspectives on what human-animal relations should be like.

  • vate (@zav)

Virginie Vaté is a tenured research fellow at the (French) National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), member of the Group “Societies, Religions, Secularisations” (GSRL, UMR 8582, CNRS-EPHE-PSL). She defended her Ph.D. at the Department of Anthropology of the University of Paris X Nanterre in 2003. She obtained two post-doctoral contracts: in 2004, she was awarded a Fyssen post-doctoral grant, during which she took part in the activities of the CIERA at the University Laval, Quebec; 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 remained an associate researcher from 2010 to 2018 (in the Department “Integration and Conflict”). She joined the CNRS in 2007 and was awarded the bronze medal of the C.N.R.S. in 2009.

She has collaborated in a number of national and international collective research projects. From 2018 to 2020, she was co-P.I. with Ludek Broz of the Czech-French project TANDEM “Bewildering Boar. Changing Cosmopolitics of the Hunt in Europe and Beyond”. Most recently, she is principal investigator for the project “Herman of Alaska. A Saint at the heart of Multiples Claims”, which followed the project “Orthodox Christianity among Indigenous People of Alaska and Chukotka” (OCIP); both projects have received the support of the Paul-Emile Victor Institute (IPEV).

In her research, Virginie Vaté has focused on religious practices in different locations of the Bering Strait area (Chukotka, Russia and Alaska, USA).  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, showing, among other things, how Christianity enables them to establish or re-establish links with indigenous people of Alaska. More recently, she conducted ethnographic research in the Bering Strait area with the aim of comparing the relations of the indigenous people of Chukotka and Alaska to Orthodox Christianity.

The theme of human-animal relations is present in Virginie’s research from the beginning, approached mostly through the angle of ritual, but also reindeer herding and sea-mammal hunting techniques. The BOAR project brings her back to this theme but in a different context. The purpose of her study is to analyze how varieties of human-boar relations unfold in northeastern France in a context where boar are seen by a number of actors as ‘too numerous’ and as a potential ‘problem’ (Mounet 2008), in particular in being able to spread African Swine Fever.



2003 | Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of Paris-Nanterre, France
1996 | DEA (diplôme d’études appliquées) in Anthropology, University of Paris-Nanterre, France
1995 | Maîtrise (M.A.) in Anthropology, University of Paris-Nanterre
1993 | Licence in Russian Language and Literature, University of Paris-Sorbonne
1992 | DEUG (diplôme d’études universitaires générales) in Russian Language and Literature, University of Paris-Nanterre
1992 | DEUG (diplôme d’études universitaires générales) in English Language and Literature, University of Paris-Nanterre


Selected publications

Edited volumes (peer reviewed)

  • 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.
  • 2007  | (with S. Beyries) Les civilisations du renne d’hier et d’aujourd’hui : approches ethnohistoriques, archéologiques et anthropologiques, Actes des XXVIIe Rencontres Internationales d’Archéologie et d’Histoire d’Antibes, Antibes : éditions APDCA.


Special issue of journals


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 | ‘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

  • 2019 | (with Y. Borjon-Privé, A. Dalles, R. Hamayon, C. Jacquemoud, J.-L. Lambert), ‘Chamanismes et christianismes en Sibérie ‘, In : J. Baubérot, Ph. Portier, J.-P. Willaime (eds), Les mutations des sciences sociales des religions et de la laïcité. Autour des vingt ans du GSRL, Paris: éditions Classiques Garnier, pp. 503-514.
  • 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 éditions, pp. 259-271.
  • 2007 | ‘The Kêly and the Fire: An Attempt at Approaching Chukchi Representations of Spirits’. In: F. Laugrand & J. Oosten (eds), La nature des esprits. Humains et non-humains dans les cosmologies autochtones, Québec: Presses de l’Université Laval, pp. 219-239.
  • 2005 | ‘Kilvêi: The Chukchi Spring Festival in Urban and Rural Contexts’. In: E. Kasten (ed), Rebuilding Identity. Pathways to reform in Post-Soviet Siberia (3), Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag, pp. 39-62 (


Journal papers and research notes

  • 2017 | Research note in: ‘Forum: Religion, Anthropology and the « Anthropology of Religion’, In: Antropologičeskij forum/Forum for Anthropology and Culture, 34-35: 121-130 (in English); 34: 59-68 (in Russian).
  • 2018 | (with E. Davydova) ‘Pishcha, emotsii i sotsial’nye otnosheniia u Amguemskikh Chukchei’, Kunstkamera, 2 : 119-126.
  •  2013 | (with P. Plattet et T. Wendling), ‘La prise du don. Jeux rituels et prix dans le Nord-Est sibérien’, In : 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, Etudes Mongoles, Sibériennes, Centrasiatiques et Tibétaines, pp. 483-514.