Interpellation and Affect

Activating Political Potentials Across Primate Species at Jakhoo Mandir, Shimla


  • Daniel Allen Solomon Cabrillo College and De Anza College



Journalistic and environmentalist discourses casting urban monkeys as outsiders to city landscapes in India appear in concert with efforts to produce a separation between the species through mass translocation of monkeys to beyond city limits. The monkeys are rhesus macaques, and despite popular notions that they are outsiders to human worlds, they exist and sometimes even flourish in the material-symbolic environments of South Asian cities, villages, farms and pastures. Contrary to the predominant discourse on urban monkeys, rhesus at “monkey temples” like Jakhoo Mandir in Shimla demonstrate that nonhuman primates can participate in the production of shared material-semiotic environments. Monkey temples are the products of an adaptive social hybridization at the confluence of coevolutionary interrelation, human religious-ethical sentiment, and the ongoing affective labors of monkeys. The assumption of human political and spatial pre-eminence and its correlative in management practice, mass translocation, are not necessary preconditions for a world in which both humans and monkeys can flourish.


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Author Biography

Daniel Allen Solomon, Cabrillo College and De Anza College

Daniel Allen Solomon is adjunct faculty at Cabrillo College and De Anza College, where he teaches cultural anthropology and human evolution. He is currently writing a book about humans’ and rhesus macaques’ political and ecological relationships in Delhi and Shimla. In addition to his scholarship, he writes poems and fiction. Some of his recent and upcoming work on interspecies relations among primates can be found at Engagement (a blog of the Anthropology and Engagement Society), at Turtle Island Quarterly, and in the Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Gender volume on “Animals.”




How to Cite

Solomon, Daniel Allen. 2016. “Interpellation and Affect: Activating Political Potentials Across Primate Species at Jakhoo Mandir, Shimla”. Humanimalia 8 (1):1-34.