University of Wales Trinity Saint David
7th ETHNOGRAPHY AND QUALITATIVE RESEARCH CONFERENCE
University of Bergamo (Italy), 6-9 June 2018
PANEL: Experiencing the Sacred between Religion and Spirituality
Stefania Palmisano (Università di Torino) firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicola Pannofino (Università di Torino) email@example.com
Emily Pierini (University of Wales Trinity Saint David / The American University of Rome) firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Religion’ and ‘Spirituality’ are terms of a binomial that is at the core of recent debates in the field of religious studies. Their relation is variably understood either as opposition or complementarity. In the first instance, according to the formula ‘spiritual but not religious’ used by those who cultivate a personal relationship with the transcendent beyond institutionalized religions. In the latter one, spirituality expresses the subjective dimension of religion. Both these definitions emphasize lived experience, and especially a sacred that permeates everyday practices, close to the body, to sensory perception and to the agency of the person in transition between multiple secular spheres of society.
In order to delve into this field, we invite contributions grounded in ethnographic research focussing upon the relationship between religion and spirituality in the social contexts of everyday life, and that stress a methodological reflection upon the status of ethnography in the study of lived religion and spirituality.
Some of the areas around which this theme can be developed are:
SESSION 1. Thursday 7 June – afternoon 16.00-19.00
SESSION 2. Friday 8 June – morning 9.30-12.30
Conference website: http://www.etnografiaricercaqualitativa.it/?page_id=517
Call for Papers
Open panel 162. Spirituality and Health: Epistemologies of Healing and the Ethnographic Encounter
18th World Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences
Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianópolis, Brazil, 16-20 July 2018
Emily PIERINI (University of Wales Trinity Saint David)
Alberto GROISMAN (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina)
Therapeutic itineraries often unfold across different approaches to wellbeing posing new challenges to patients, healers and medical professionals. This panel explores the entanglements of spirituality and biomedicine in people’s experiences of healing, specifically asking: how do people make sense of and use different epistemologies of illness and healing in their therapeutic itinerary? How to they either draw, shift, or cross the boundaries between spiritual and medical approaches? How do they understand and apply notions of ‘efficacy’ and ‘evidence’ in their therapeutic experiences? How they deal with the power relations between the different approaches? How do they consider the relationships of negotiation and processes of decision implicated?
Researching these experiences, contexts and itineraries, demands that also ethnographers address particular methodological challenges. How could ethnographic knowledge approach the tension between different epistemologies of healing coexisting in people’s experiences? What kinds of methodological and ethical challenges arise in the ethnographic encounter with people in, or moving between, the fields of spirituality and biomedicine?
We invite papers discussing ethnographic research in groups practising spiritual healing, among patients following both biomedical and spiritual therapeutic itineraries, and health professionals using conventional and non-conventional therapeutic approaches to healing.
Keywords: spirituality; health; wellbeing; healing; therapeutic itineraries
Abstract submission: http://www.inscricoes.iuaes2018.org/trabalho/view?ID_TRABALHO=68
Thematic axis: 19. Health and Medical Anthropology
Open Panel. 162 Spirituality and Health: Epistemologies of Healing and the Ethnographic Encounter
Languages accepted for paper presentations: English, Portuguese, Spanish
Deadline: 28 February 2018
Please, circulate this to those who might be interested.
University Cologne, Germany
25-26 September 2017
a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School& for the Humanities Cologne
Aachener Str. 217 | 50931 Köln
Organized by Marcello Múscari (Universidade de São Paulo), Ehler Voss (Universität Siegen) and Martin Zillinger (Universität zu Köln)
This workshop zooms in on new communities of practice and enskilment that evolve around techniques of mediumship in an interconnected world. The increased mobility of people, organizations and media that take part in or reformulate trance practices and spiritual experiences has significantly widened the scope and outreach of adepts of trance, spirit possession and spiritual body arts. Their body techniques, symbols and artifacts play a major role in the re-organization of spirituality on site and the emergence of transnational spirited publics across time and space, co-producing the “local” and the “global” of religious and spiritual practice.
Components of shamanic journeys, afro-Brazilian rituals, trance mediumship and mystic traditions circulate, compete and merge with each other and are often combined with “alternative” healing procedures and body sports, reshaping individual experiences and cosmologies, mediating scales and contexts of situated communities of practices.
With this workshop we intend to bring together work on new communities of practices, which evolve around mediumship, spirit possession and trance rituals, by adressing how these practices are taught and learned, transformed and re-invented in different settings. In particular, we are intested in the discussion on „apprenticeship“ as a process of enskilment (Ingold) in context of co-participation that is increasingly transformed through technologisazion, standardization and interaction at a distance. Increasingly, people do not only co-operate across ‘social worlds’ (Strauss), they act simultaneously in different and only partially overlapping social relations. The communal practices of trance and mediumship do therefore not signify the existence of firmly established communities, rather communality has to be continuously produced through interaction. We invite participants to reflect upon how, under the condition of heterogeneity, spiritual sociality and a shared socio-material world is produced through the mutual recognizable production of practices and common situations among spirits, their mediums, experts and followers.
Monday, 25 September 2017
12.30 Opening. Martin Zillinger (University of Cologne)
Rodrigo Toniol (Utrecht University): Capturing Spirituality and Setting Religion
Bettina Schmidt (University of Wales Trinity Saint David): Anthropology of Religious Experience: a Deictic Approach to the Study of Mediumship
Viola Teisenhofer (Groupe Société, Religions, Laicité, Paris): “Is It Me or Is It the Entity?” Mediumship, “Spiritual Development” and Ritual Interactions in the Temple Guaracy, a Transnational Umbanda Shrine House
Marcello Múscari (University of Cologne & São Paulo): On African Spirits, Planets and Shamanic Journeys: Exploring Rituals as Scale Shifting Technologies among a German Umbanda
Fiona Bowie (King's College London): Spirit Release Therapies. Healing Networks and Mediumistic Practices in Contemporary Britain
Keynote Lecture. Inger Sjørslev (University of Copenhagen): New Skills New Rituals. From Possession to Precision in Two Brazilian Religions
Tuesday, 26 September 2017
Helmar Kurz: (University of Muenster): Tranformation of Spiritist Practice. A Journey from Germany to Brazil and Back
Emily Pierini (University of Wales Trinity Saint David): The Mediumistic Body. Learning Spirit Mediumship in the Vale do Amanhecer
Anja Dreschke (University of Siegen): How to Become a Shaman in Cologne. Spiritual Practices and Embodied Knowledge in Popular Reenactment
Aline Ferreira (University of São Paulo): Healing Skills. Non Indigenous in the Search of Forest Technologies
Ruy Blanes: (Spanish National Research Council, Santiago de Compostela): Silent Prophets. On discernment, Mediation and Anti Aesthetics in Angolan Prophetism
Ehler Voss (University of Siegen): Scaling the Skill. Learning Mediumship in a Spiritualistic Church in California
A documentary about shamans, death and better life
A project by Marianna Zanetta and Edmondo Perrone
Itako are japanese shamans, known to be mostly blind. “Itako::Visions” is a journey across the subject of death and mourning, through the rituals and practices developed and mastered by itako.
Before the encounter with shamanism, it is important to acknowledge the background in which itako work, within the peculiar japanese landscape and in particular the buddhist approach to death with its specific images of the afterlife. Beginning with the 2011 catastrophe, the earthquake and the tsunami that hit Northeastern Japan – where itako dwell – we deal with the death of a community, and the tragic loss of a child. We wonder what lead people now, in the XXI century, to look out for the help of a shaman. What kind of assistance can this type of medium actually offer? We then meet itako, we come to better know them, We try to talk about the future of this type of shamanism with the youngest among them, and with one of her clients. We will then have a clearer context of the human fragility in the face of death, and how ineffective will result materialism when dealing with the spiritual needs.
Project: Edmondo Perrone, Marianna Zanetta
Direction: Edmondo Perrone
Extra Shooting: Emanuele Satolli, Iwate Prefecture Noda Village, Tohoku Regional Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Turism.
Illustrations: Flavio Bisca
Editing: Edmondo Perrone
Translation: Toshie Shinozaki, Kenji Maeji, Tamayo Muto, Sachiko Akebiyama, Noriko Sato, Aya Yamada Mitchell Urbanowicz
Subtitles: Mitchell Urbanowicz, Marianna Zanetta
Music: “I should Know” by Edmondo Perrone, performed by Edmondo Perrone, Paola Bernardeschi, “Emotional Inspiration” by e-soundtrax. “Dancing life” by Lucrezia Morticelly. “Taiko Action” by iCentury
For more information
23 February 2017, MAO – Museo d’Arte Orientale, Turin, Italy
Edited by Jack Hunter
2016 Aporetic Press
Damned Facts: Fortean Essays on Religion, Folklore and the Paranormal is a collection of essays adopting a variety of 'Fortean' approaches to the study of religion, folklore and the paranormal. Over the course of four ground-breaking books published between 1919-1932, Charles Fort gathered thousands of accounts of weird events and experiences that seemed to upset the established models of mainstream science and religion. In order to explore these events Fort developed the philosophy of Intermediatism, whereby all phenomena (from the most mundane to the most extraordinary), are understood to partake of a quasi-existence, neither real nor unreal. It is from this indeterminate vantage point that the chapters in this book begin their investigations.
Table Of Contents:
Foreword: Damned Comparisons and the Real - Jeffrey J. Kripal
Introduction: Intermediatism and the Study of Religion - Jack Hunter
Chapter 1: No Limestone in the Sky: The Politics of Damned Facts - Amba J. Sepie
Chapter 2: The Methodologies of Radical Empiricism: The Experiential Worlds of William James and Charles Fort - Timothy Grieve-Carlson
Chapter 3: Extraordinary Religious/Anomalous Cases from Brazil and the Fortean Approach - Wellington Zangari, Fatima Regina Machado, Everton de Oliveira Maraldi and Leonardo Breno Martins
Chapter 4: A New Demonology: John Keel and The Mothman Prophecies - David Clarke
Chapter 5: UFO Abductions as Mystical Encounter: Faerie Folklore in W.Y. Evans-Wentz, Jacques Vallee and Whitley Strieber - Robin Jarrell
Chapter 6: Misunderstanding Myth as History: The Case of British-Israelism - David V. Barrett
Chapter 7: The Transmediumizers - Eden S. French and Christopher Laursen
Chapter 8: The Mirror Maze: True Reflections of the Hyperprophets - James Harris
Chapter 9: Implications of a Paranormal Labyrinth - Roberta Harris Short
Special Issue 'Fieldwork in Religion: Bodily Experience and Ethnographic Knowledge'
Vol 2 (2016)
Edited by Emily Pierini and Alberto Groisman
Access and download a free copy of the Journal here:
Introduction. Fieldwork in Religion: Bodily Experience and Ethnographic Knowledge
Emily Pierini and Alberto Groisman
Full Participation and Ethnographic Reflexivity. An Afro-Brazialian Case Study
Embodied Encounters: Ethnographic Knowledge, Emotions and the Senses in the Vale do Amanhecer's Spirit Mediumship
Daime Religions, Mediumship and Religious Agency: Health and the Fluency of Social Relations
Studying the Body in Rastafari Rituals: Spirituality, Embodiment and Ethnographic Knowledge
Spirits, Spies and Lies in Havana: Unwitting and Paranoid Entanglements between the Ethnographer and the Field
Diana Espirito Santo
Immersion in Experiencing the Sacred: Insights into the Ethnography of Religion
This Special Issue examines the construction of ethnographic knowledge in researching among participants of religious and spiritual groups through the lenses of bodily experience. Articles discuss the methodological implications of engaging the scholarly body in the field and the ways in which to convey these experiences through ethnography, by addressing the empirical, ethical, epistemological, relational, political and analytical implications of this significant aspect of fieldwork. Authors are particularly concerned with religious and spiritual groups whose practices imply the use of techniques, resources, plants, substances and other strategies used in religious contexts to modify the states of consciousness. They ask specifically how does the researcher's experience in researching among these groups inform the production of ethnographic knowledge? In which way does it redefine our analytical categories, and even the way we approach the experiences of participants in these groups? Up to which extent do our interlocutors expect us to know about their experiences and practices? Assessing critically their own experiences and their implications, they raise issues associated with contemporary debates around concepts of 'knowledge' and 'belief', 'body', 'self' and 'personhood', 'health' and 'illness' in religious contexts.
Handbook of Contemporary Religions in Brazil
Edited by Bettina E. Schmidt and Steven Engler
Published by Brill (2016)
Approx 450 pages
The Brill Handbook of Contemporary Religions in Brazil provides an unprecedented overview of Brazil’s religious landscape. It offers a full, balanced and contextualized portrait of contemporary religions in Brazil, bringing together leading scholars from both Brazil and abroad, drawing on both fieldwork and detailed reviews of the literatures. For the first time a single volume offers overviews by leading scholars of the full range of Brazilian religions, alongside more theoretically oriented discussions of relevant religious and culture themes. This Handbook’s three sections present specific religions and groups of traditions, Brazilian religions in the diaspora, and issues in Brazilian religions (e.g., women, possession, politics, race and material culture).
Contributors: Ênio Brito, Fernando Giobellina Brumana, John Burdick, Leonildo Silveira Campos, Stefania Capone, Cristina Maria de Castro, Graciela Chamorro, R. Andrew Chesnut, Daniel Clark, Andrew Dawson, Steven Engler, Silas Guerriero, Kelly E. Hayes, Andreas Hofbauer, Artur Cesar Isaia, David Clark Knowlton, Ricardo Mariano, Paula Montero, Mark Münzel, Ari Pedro Oro, Emily Pierini, Paulo Barrera Rivera, Cristina Rocha, Roger Sansi, Clara Saraiva, Bettina E. Schmidt, Rafael Shoji, Vagner Gonçalves da Silva, Carlos Alberto Steil, Marta F. Topel, Frank Usarski, and Gillian Watt.
The Study of Religious Experience Approaches and Methodologies
Edited by Bettina E. Schmidt, University of Wales Trinity St David
Published by Equinox
Foreword – Peggy Morgan
Introduction – Bettina E. Schmidt
Anthropological Approaches to the Study of Religious Experience
1. How to Study Religious Experience: Historical and Methodological Reflections on the Study of the Paranormal – Fiona Bowie
2. Ethnological and Neurophenomenological Approaches to Religious Experiences – Michael Winkelman
Methodological Challenges for the Study of Religious Experience
3. Fieldwork and Embodied Knowledge: Researching the Experiences of Spirit Mediums in the Brazilian Vale do Amanhecer – Emily Pierini
4. Cultural-Linguistic Constructivism and the Challenge of Near-Death and Out-of- Body Experiences – Gregory Shushan
5. Provincializing Religious Experience: Methodological Challenges to the Study of Religious Experiences in Brazil – Bettina E. Schmidt
Theological and Philosophical Approaches to the Study of Religious Experience
6. Immediate Revelation or the Basest Idolatry? Theology and Religious Experience – Robert Pope
7. An Argument from Religious Experience: Origins and Revelations – Tristan Nash
Reflections on Types of Religious Experience
8. Text and Experience: Reflections on ‘Seeing’ in the Gospel of John – Catrin H. Williams
9. Music as Spiritual Experience – June Boyce-Tillman
10. Is It Possible to Have a ‘Religious Experience’ in Cyberspace? – Gary Bunt
A rich and welcome addition to the literature which has something for anyone with a serious interest in this area of investigation.
Professor Peggy Morgan, Mansfield College, University of Oxford
Quote the code Experience and receive 25% off the retail price when ordering from the book page.
To see further information on the book, chapter abstracts and to order please visit