I AM A SPANISH ANTHROPOLOGIST, CURRENTLY WORKING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BERGEN (UIB) AS A POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER, AND AS ASSOCIATED RESEARCHER AT THE INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LISBON (ICS-UL), WHERE I RECEIVED MY PHD (2007).
MY CURRENT RESEARCH SITE IS ANGOLA, WHERE I HAVE BEEN CONDUCTING ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDIES ON RELIGION, MOBILITY (DIASPORAS, TRANSNATIONALISM, THE ATLANTIC), POLITICS (LEADERSHIP, CHARISMA, REPRESSION, RESISTANCE), TEMPORALITIES (HISTORICITY, MEMORY, HERITAGE, EXPECTATIONS), KNOWLEDGE AND GENDER.
I AM ALSO CO-EDITOR OF THE JOURNAL ADVANCES IN RESEARCH: RELIGION AND SOCIETY, PUBLISHED BY BERGHAHN.
(ATLANTIC SPIRITS. RELIGION, HERITAGE, AND THE MAKING OF THE ATLANTIC WORLD THROUGH WINTI AND CANDOMBLÉ.)
Utrecht University, Netherlands
Trained as a cultural anthropologist and working on lived religion in Ghana for more than 20 years, Birgit Meyer studies religion from a global and post-secular perspective. Her research is driven by an urge to make sense of the shifting place and role of religion in our time, and to show that scholarly work in the field of religion is of eminent concern to understanding the shape of our world in the early 21st century. In so doing, she seeks to synthesize grounded fieldwork and theoretical reflection in a broad multidisciplinary setting.Her main research foci are the rise and popularity of global Pentecostalism; religion, popular culture and heritage; religion and media; religion and the public sphere; religious visual culture, the senses and aesthetics.
(SLAVE TRADE TRANSATLANTIC HERITAGESCAPES. RECONNECTIONS AND WORLD- MAKING IN GUINEA-CONAKRY AND THE MEXICAN GULF)
Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Dr. in Anthropology and Associate Professor (ULB) and editor of Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale (http://www.easaonline.org/journal.htm)
Following an appointment at the Central European University (Budapest), I became an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Free University of Brussels. I earned a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from The Free University of Brussels in 2002. Before that, I had been a doctoral visiting student at the Universities of Manchester and Oxford in the UK. In 2001-2003, I was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University. Geographically, my main area of experience and expertise are Guinea-Conakry and Laos. My theoretical expertise focuses mostly on the anthropology of religion, the anthropology of material culture and cultural heritage, the anthropology of memory and transmission, as also on the study of gender and sexuality. I cherish the idea of an anthropology that is capable of accounting for the ways individuals “arrive at” cultural concepts, representations, practices and emotions. This implies a strong intellectual commitment to issues of learning, transmission, and socialization; this endeavour allows me to forge fruitful interdisciplinary connections–for instance with cognitive psychology, the neurosciences, and linguistics. Some of my articles have been published in American Ethnologist, JRAI, Terrain, L’Homme, Cahiers d’Études Africaines, RES anthropology and aesthetics and Anthropological Quarterly. I have co-edited (with Ramon Sarro) a collection of essays, Learning Religion: Anthropological Approaches (2007), as well as a special edition of the Journal Men and Masculinities, namely a volume on male anthropologists doing feminist anthropology (2008). Pursuant to my research about memory, loss and transmission, in 2007 I started a new ethnographical fieldwork in Laos titled “UNESCO and the politics of transmission in Luang Prabang”.
University of Oxford
Ramon Sarró is a University Lecturer in the Social Anthropology of Africa. Before joining ISCA he has been a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon (2002-2012). He studied philosophy in Barcelona and social anthropology in the UK, completing his PhD on iconoclasm, politics and religion among Baga (Republic of Guinea) at University College London (1999), under the supervision of Philip Burnham and Barrie Sharpe. Between 2000 and 2002, he held the Ioma Evans-Pritchard Junior Research Fellowship at Saint Anne’s College (Oxford).
At present he is researching into the interface between prophecy, art and the ‘invention of writing’ in Central and West Africa.
UNIVERSITÉ LIBRE DE BRUXELLES, BELGIUM
I am a Dutch cultural anthropologist doing my PhD at the Free University of Brussels under supervision of prof. David Berliner. At the moment I am living in New Orleans, Louisiana, where I am affiliated with Tulane University.
Within the Currents project I am conducting fieldwork on the social arena of contemporary voodoo in New Orleans, thereby focusing on “voodoo heritagization”, Atlantic slave histories, African American cultures and heritage politics.
My previous fieldwork was situated in the Netherlands and Suriname and my main research interests include: migration, identity, home& belonging, Diaspora, memory studies, cultural heritage and religion.
Institute of Social Sciences, Lisbon, Portugal
I am a Spanish anthropologist. Last year I completed my MA in Anthropology at the University of Seville and my research themes were: history, social memory, violence, death, mourning through time and religions.
Currently I am a PhD student at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon within the CURRENTS project under the supervision of Dr. Ruy Blanes and Prof. Susana Matos Viegas. We will work within the project “Encounters, historical acknowledgements and moral landscapes across the Atlantic”. I will conduct my research on “grassroots prophetism, political interventions and territorial heritagizations in contemporary South America”, with a specific focus on the Israelitas Community in Peru (AEMINPU), a prophetic movement founded by Ezequiel Gamonal, who engaged in counter-hegemonic politics, combatting Sendero Luminoso and promoting ‘back to the land’ agricultural initiatives, through the creation of ‘New Jerusalem’ compounds in the rural and jungle areas. Through this project we explore how such politic-religious movements engage in Christian transatlantic categories of temporality (messianism, millennialism) and place (‘Jerusalem’), and negotiate their particular position within the Peruvian socio-political landscape, promoting alternative heritagizations and sacralizations of the land.
University of Oxford
My research within the CURRENTS project will be focusing on the African Heritage in Brazil, where my research site will be. Under the supervision of Dr. Sarró (PI, Oxford) who will be conducting reseach work in Angola, we will work toward the project ‘A King in the Atlantic: centripetal and centrifugal forces in the making of a Kongo heritage’. I will be looking at the manifold articulations of Central African elements in Brazilian cultural, religious and political life, trying to explore the ways in which memories of the ‘King of Kongo’ and notions of African culture have been constructed and construed, remembered and manifested in contemporary Brazil.
I have completed my graduate studies in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford and my research interests mainly revolve around the realms of history and anthropology, Lowland South America, indigenous peoples, memory and everyday practice, death and society, cultural heritage.
I am a social anthropologist working in and on the Netherlands. My research seeks to understand postcoloniality, that is a social and cultural condition of the present that is haunted by the colonial past. My focus has been mainly on the traces of colonialism in present Dutch society, as well as on matters of race, cultural heritage, and belonging. Recently my research interest has come to include religion and the postsecular, which I approach from a postcolonial angle.
My main research interests include memory studies, post-colonialism, race, the body, aesthetics, authenticity, cultural heritage, the Caribbean, and diaspora.
For currents of faith, I will research the increasing interest in Afro-Surinamese Winti religion in the Netherlands, and look at the ways in which this religion forms a sense of community.
Bruno Reinhardt holds a B.A. in Social Sciences from the Federal university of Minas Gerais, Brazil, a M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Brasília, Brazil, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, USA. He is a now a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University.
His previous projects included an ethnography of public controversies between adepts of Candomblé (Afro-Brazilian religion) and Pentecostal Christians in his native city of Salvador, Bahia, and an ethnography of Pentecostal pedagogy in Ghana, centered on the methods and relations used to transmit Pentecostal spirituality authoritatively both in the everyday of converts and within Bible schools, where neophyte pastors are trained by specific denominations.
Based on David Scott’s definition of the Black Atlantic tradition as an “embodied argument”, his Currents project deals comparatively with the cultivation of African ancestry among black movement activists affiliated to Candomblé and to Pentecostalism in Salvador, Bahia. Is the Holy Spirit an “Atlantic spirit”? Can Pentecostalism transcend the colorblind universalism and the opposition to African religious traditions often correctly attributed to it by scholars? How is the notion of tolerance and intolerance played out in Salvador’s increasingly politicized and judicialized religious field? How the “idea of Africa” (Mudimbe) circulates between and is materialized by these two religious traditions as they relate to an expanding state apparatus based on the “politics of recognition”? Those are some of the guiding questions of my inquiry.
University of Groningen
(Afro-Brazilian ‘remigration’ to West Africa reconsidered: negotiating historiography between economics, politics, heritage, and religion, 1830s-present)
Michel Doortmont trained as an historian and Africanist in Rotterdam, Leiden, and Birmingham (UK). He did his PhD research on the historiography of the Yoruba of Nigeria, especially the transformation of oral traditions and oral histories into written forms in the 19th and 20th centuries. Since then he specialised in the history of the relations between Ghanaians and the Dutch in all their respects, including the interracial relationships, the history and actual heritage of the Atlantic slave trade, and Dutch colonial policy towards West Africa. Other research interests include the Black Atlantic, heritage management in a post-colonial setting, and South African colonial history.
He is currently a reader in International Relations and African Studies at the University of Groningen (NL), co-editor of History in Africa: A Journal of Method, co-editor of the book series African Sources for African History and Sources for African History, and academic coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus Action 2 programme EU-SATURN for mobility of South African postgraduate students and staff to the European Union.
Federal University of Paraná
I am Brazilian and, since March 2013, I work as a lecturer at Federal University of Paraná, in Curitiba (Brazil). I defended my PhD at VU University Amsterdam in 2010, doing research on missionary and diaconal efforts of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. As a post-doc researcher at the same university, I did research on the use of images in the Catholic devotion to Our Lady Aparecida. This work was linked to the HERA project “Creativity and Innovation in a World of Movement”.
My current research is about religious aspects of the Dutch colonial interventions in the Atlantic space in the 17th century. I am especially interested on the relationships between Dutch Calvinists, African slaves and the indigenous people in the Dutch settlements in the Portuguese colonies in South America.
I studied psychology and philosophy at the London School of Economics before becoming interested in anthropology, after which I did an MSc. As an anthropologist I have been interested in spirit possession and mediation phenomena from the start of my research career. I wrote my PhD at University College London (awarded 2009) on concepts of selfhood, knowledge and mediumship development in Cuban Creole spiritism, known as “espiritismo cruzado”. Since then I have expanded my ethnographic interests to include imaginaries of witchcraft, the experience of transgressive spirit-person relations, and their corollary in the wider Afro-Cuban religious sphere, paranoia, suspicion and disassembly. I keep returning to Havana to follow up these themes through varied foci – dreams, spirit biographies, politics and religion. Since 2009 I have been a postdoctoral researcher – first at Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, and subsequently at the Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA), based at the New University of Lisbon. I currently work and write on notions of ontological plasticity and transformation in Brazilian Umbanda, namely, in the articulation and learning of spirits and their embodiment, working both in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. I have co-edited two books and my monograph, provisionally entitled Developing the Dead, is under review at a US press.
Université Libre de Bruxelles
University College London
Laurence Douny is Associated Researcher at the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie des Mondes Contemporains at ULB, and Honorary Research Fellow at University College London. Over the past years, she has conducted field research in Mali, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Burkina-Faso, on topics of material culture, heritage, food, technology, etc. Her research project “West African ‘Heritagescapes’: Re-Thinking The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade from the Peripheries” investigates the social and historical formation of indigenous heritage landscapes in West Africa in the framework of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Through the collection of oral histories, an examination of places and practices of commemoration, she focuses on points of departures and thus peripheries of the Slave Trade in Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. This project explores the socio-political construction of local ‘heritagescapes’ and of aspects of West African material identities through slave trade with an emphasis on indigenous religious and symbolic practice and of concepts of trade, labor and heritage. It also interrogates people’s worldviews about slavery in the light of contemporary inter-ethnic social relations and recent political events in West Africa.
University of Oxford
Marina P. Temudo is a Senior Research Affiliate at the African Studies Centre, University of Oxford, as well as a Senior Researcher at the Tropical Research Institute (Lisbon, Portugal). Her areas of research include bio-cultural diversity, conservation, environmental history, and the social aspects of agriculture and rural development in Africa. She has conducted fieldwork in Guinea-Bissau mostly, but also in Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Principe and the Republic of Guinea. Her most recent publications have covered issues around environmental history, agro-biodiversity, shifting cultivation, landscapes transformations in post-war settings, the impact of cash crops on livelihood strategies, conflicts between park inhabitants and conservationists, and youth and the future of agriculture in Africa. Within the HERA project, she will join Ramon Sarró in Northern Angola, looking at the environmental and agrarian aspects of the heritage-isation of the region around Mbanza Kongo. Her project, supplementing Sarró’s, is entitled “Heritage and Landscapes transformation in Zaire (Northern Angola): Between the Value of the Past and the Value of the Land”.