About Anna

Anna Fedele

Anna Fedele is a Senior Researcher at the Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule in Brixen (South Tyrol, Italy) where she coordinates a Research Cluster on Religion and Sustainability. She also works as a lecturer (docente a contratto) at the department of Design and Arts of the Free University of Bolzano.

She is an associated researcher of the ISOR Institute, Research in the Sociology of Religion (Autonomous Univ. Barcelona), of the Institut de Sciences Sociales des Religions (Univ. Lausanne and at the Center for Research in Anthropology (CRIA) of the Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL) , where she has worked as post doctoral researcher and later as a senior researcher from 2009 to 2020 funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. Anna has also been part of the international HERA research project HERILIGION investigating the intersections of religion and heritage in Fatima as part of the Portuguese team of the project.

Anna’s research focuses on the anthropology and sociology of religion and more in particular on pilgrimage, lived religion and ritual creativity. She has done field research in Southern Europe (Spain, Italy, France, Portugal), as well as  in California and Peru. More recently she has started to focus also on topics related to alpine anthropology doing research in South Tyrol, where she grew up.

Anna’s research explores the intersections of religion, gender, identity and heritage in contemporary Europe, working at the intersection of the anthropology and sociology of religion, tourist studies and, more recently, also sustainability studies. She analyses how in a European region that is described as increasingly secular, religion still plays an important role in shaping politics concerning gender, ethnicity and sustainability as well as in the construction of nationalist and anti-EU discourses.

Anna holds a Ph.D in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris) and the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. Her dissertation has been published as part of the Oxford Series in Ritual Studies under the title: Looking for Mary Magdalene. Alternative Pilgrimage and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France (Oxford University Press, 2013). This book has received the Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion of the American Academy of Religion.

Her Master thesis has been published as a Spanish book entiled El camino de María Magdalene (RBA, 2008). This text explores the long exegetical path that the figure of saint Mary Magdalene has performed from the beginnings of Christianity until the publication of The Da Vinci Code (2003). Particular attention is paid to contemporary interpretations of Mary Magdalene and its relationship with the feminist spirituality movement.

Anna has been a chercheure associée of the Groupe de Sociologie Politique et Morale, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris until the dissolution of this laboratoire in 2013. She has been a Visiting Scholar at the anthropology department of Stanford University in 2010, at the Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute (Florence) in 2013, at the Institut de Sciences Sociales des Religions Contemporaines of the University of Lausanne in 2014 and at the Sociology department of the University of Trento (Italy) in 2016.

She has co-edited these edited volumes:

with Ruy Llera Blanes:

Encounters of Body and Soul in Contemporary Religious Practices; Anthropological Reflections (Berghahn Books, EASA series)

with Kim Knibbe:

Gender and Power in Contemporary Spirituality: Ethnographic Approaches, as part of the Routledge Studies in Religion Series.

Secular Societies, Spiritual Selves? The Gendered Triangle of Religion, Spirituality and Secularity,

as part of the Routledge book series Gendering the Study of Religion in the Social Sciences that Anna co-funded and coordinates now with Kim Knibbe, Laurel Zwissler and Kristin Aune

Anna has also coordinated three special issues:

– with Élisabeth Claverie: Uncertainty in Vernacular ReligionsSocial Compass

– with Sabina Magliocco: Ritual Creativity, Emotions and the Body, Journal of Ritual Studies

– with Joanna White: Birthing Matters in Portugal, Etnografica

Anna is the co-founder (with Kim Knibbe) and the coordinator of the Network for the Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality (NAGS) of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA).

Anna also holds a MA in German and English literature from the Universitá Cattolica of Milan with a thesis entiled “La figura di Medea quale guaritrice e maga nel romanzo Medea-Stimmen di Christa Wolf” (The figure of Medea as a healer and witch in the novel Medea-Voices by Christa Wolf) (1998) The thesis analyses the feminist reinterpretation of the mythological figure of Medea by the German author Christa Wolf, one of the best-known writers to have emerged from the former East Germany, in her novel Medea- Voices (1996). A chapter that resumes Anna’s MA thesis has been published in Spanish as part of the book: RIUS GATELL, Rosa (ed.), Sobre la guerra y la violencia en el discurso femenino (1914-1989), Barcelona: Publicacions i Edicions de la Universitat de Barcelona, 2006.

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