Anthropology and Environment Society
Oral Presentation Session
This paper explores how Homshetsi people living in the north-east of Turkey conceptualize the socio-environmental transformations that have been taking place on their ethno-linguistic landscapes and how their language practices are shaped by these changes. Drawing from linguistic anthropological theories and the multispecies approach, I show how Homshetsi people engage with adverse environmental transformations such as the population explosion of “ricania simulans”, deforestation, and expansion of tea plants at the expense of other wild and cultivated plant species by human and other- than -human actors. “Ricania simulans” is a genus of planthoppers indigenous to China and who was brought to Russia in the 1900s from Japan. The population of “ricania simulans” in the north-east of Turkey increased dramatically in the last decade as a result of the rapid changes in the ecosystem of the region due to hydroelectric dams on the freshwater rivers. I analyze the linguistic devices used by Homshetsi people such as epistemic modality, voice, and pronoun choice and show how “ricania simulans” is constructed as the invasive “others”. Within a “discourse of war”, “ricania simulans” is constructed as “the vampire butterfly” sapping fluids of other plants until their bodies dry out and invading people’s houses and hence, as an enemy to fight against.