About Anna


Anna Fedele

Anna Fedele is a Senior Researcher (Investigadora FCT) at the Center for Research in Anthropology (CRIA) of the Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL). She is currently coordinating a research project entitled: “Fatima, One Century after the Apparitions: Pilgrimage, Gender and Lived Religion” funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). She is also 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 intersections of gender and religion with a particular emphasis on pilgrimage, lived religion, ritual creativity, embodiment and sexuality. She has done field research in Southern Europe (Spain, Italy, France, Portugal), as well as  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 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 with Ruy Llera Blanes Encounters of Body and Soul in Contemporary Religious Practices; Anthropological Reflections (Berghahn Books, EASA series)

Gender and Power in Contemporary Spirituality: Ethnographic Approaches, the volume Anna co-edited with Kim Knibbe has recently been published as part of the Routledge Studies in Religion Series.

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). She is also the founder and coordinator (with Kim Knibbe, Kristin Aune and Mia Lovheim) of the Roultedge book series Gendering the Study of Religion in the Social Sciences 

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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