NEW BOOK: Looking for Mary Magdalene

Looking for Mary Magdalene: Alternative Pilgrimage and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France

 Looking for Mary Magdalene:

Alternative Pilgrimage and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France

Anna Fedele offers a sensitive ethnography of alternative pilgrimages to French Catholic shrines dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene. Drawing on more than three years of fieldwork, she describes how pilgrims from Italy, Spain, Britain, and the United States interpret Catholic figures, symbols, and sites according to theories derived from the international Neopagan movement. Fedele pays particular attention to the pilgrims’ life stories, rituals and reading. She examines how they devise their rituals, how anthropological literature has influenced them, and why this kind of spirituality is increasingly prevalent in the West. These pilgrims cultivate spirituality in interaction with each other and with textual sources: Jungian psychology, Goddess mythology, and “indigenous” traditions merge into a corpus of practices centered upon the worship of the Goddess and Mother Earth, and the sacralization of the reproductive cycle. Their rituals present a critique of Roman Catholicism and the medical establishment, and question contemporary discourse on gender.

 

“In this theoretically nuanced and ethnographically rich study, Anna Fedele carefully lays out the complex and imaginative worlds of Mary Magdalene’s contemporary spiritual pilgrims and their sacred landscapes of European forests, waters, caves, and rocks imbued with symbol and meaning. Immersing herself in their created ceremonies, she reports back to us with sensitivity and insight about their reinterpretations of gender, sexuality, community, and religion.”

Sarah M. Pike, author of Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community

 

“This is a rich, thoughtful, and quite startling account of the new spirituality around Mary Magdalene, and around menstruation, darkness and the creativity of loss.”

Tanya Luhrmann, Watkins University Professor, Department of Anthropology, Stanford University

Oxford Ritual Studies Series, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press

336 pages; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4;ISBN13: 978-0-19-989842-8ISBN10: 0-19-989842-1


 

NEW BOOK: Looking for Mary Magdalene

Looking for Mary Magdalene: Alternative Pilgrimage and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France

 Looking for Mary Magdalene:

Alternative Pilgrimage and Ritual Creativity at Catholic Shrines in France

Anna Fedele offers a sensitive ethnography of alternative pilgrimages to French Catholic shrines dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene. Drawing on more than three years of fieldwork, she describes how pilgrims from Italy, Spain, Britain, and the United States interpret Catholic figures, symbols, and sites according to theories derived from the international Neopagan movement. Fedele pays particular attention to the pilgrims’ life stories, rituals and reading. She examines how they devise their rituals, how anthropological literature has influenced them, and why this kind of spirituality is increasingly prevalent in the West. These pilgrims cultivate spirituality in interaction with each other and with textual sources: Jungian psychology, Goddess mythology, and “indigenous” traditions merge into a corpus of practices centered upon the worship of the Goddess and Mother Earth, and the sacralization of the reproductive cycle. Their rituals present a critique of Roman Catholicism and the medical establishment, and question contemporary discourse on gender.

 

“In this theoretically nuanced and ethnographically rich study, Anna Fedele carefully lays out the complex and imaginative worlds of Mary Magdalene’s contemporary spiritual pilgrims and their sacred landscapes of European forests, waters, caves, and rocks imbued with symbol and meaning. Immersing herself in their created ceremonies, she reports back to us with sensitivity and insight about their reinterpretations of gender, sexuality, community, and religion.”

Sarah M. Pike, author of Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community

 

“This is a rich, thoughtful, and quite startling account of the new spirituality around Mary Magdalene, and around menstruation, darkness and the creativity of loss.”

Tanya Luhrmann, Watkins University Professor, Department of Anthropology, Stanford University

Oxford Ritual Studies Series, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press

336 pages; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4;ISBN13: 978-0-19-989842-8ISBN10: 0-19-989842-1


 

First edition, Summer School Sexuality and Morality, September 2012

The Summer School

“Sexuality and Morality: From Religious Taboos to the Commerce of Intimacy”

will be held at the Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL),

in Lisbon, Portugal, from the 10th to the 14th of September 2012.

Coordinators: Anna Fedele and Valerio Simoni

The entanglements of sexuality and morality have often captured the imagination of scholars, challenging their normative assumptions and calling into question their descriptive and interpretative tools. What can be said of these entanglements at the beginning of the 21st century, after decades of research on the matter? Are there still unbroken taboos in the social sciences? How are we to understand sexuality and morality, and how can these issues be investigated? How are relations between sexuality and morality being (re)defined? What is the role of religion, politics, and commerce in (re)shaping these relations? How can anthropology improve our understanding of such complex entanglements?

The Summer School “Sexuality and Morality: From Religious Taboos to the Commerce of Intimacy” will be held at the Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL), in Lisbon, Portugal, from the 10th to the 14th of September 2012. The program encompasses lectures and seminars.

The course is suited to anyone who wants to challenge taken for granted assumptions on sexuality and morality and wishes to rethink their complex relationships in the light of the latest debates in anthropology. Combining theory and empirical research, the School offers participants a wide spectrum of strategies to address the intersections of sexuality and morality. It reviews key perspectives and approaches in the social sciences and humanities, and provides a space for debating a range of case studies and concrete examples. Religious taboos, sex work, and same-sex marriages are among the cases addressed.

Lectures and seminars are given by academics with a strong international profile that have both empirical and theoretical expertise on the subjects treated.

Click below for more information about the contents of the course and for information about future editions of the

Summer Course on Sexuality and Morality

Click below for more information on

application procedures to the Summer School on Sexuality and Morality, 

For enquiries related to the course content, please contact the Summer School co-ordinators:

Valerio Simoni (vals_sim@yahoo.com) or Anna Fedele (anna.fedele@yahoo.com).

For questions related to application procedures, please contact Valerio Simoni (vals_sim@yahoo.com)

Call for papers EASA 2012

The call for papers for the panel on

“The importance of Uncertainty in Vernacular Religion”

for the conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists 2012

 to be held in Paris, Nanterre 10/07/2012 – 13/07/2012 is now open.

Dealing with Doubts, Putting to Test:

the Importance of Uncertainty in Vernacular Religion

Coordinators: Élisabeth Claverie (CNRS, Paris) and Anna Fedele (CRIA, Lisbon University Institute

We want to explore the ways in which dogmas and rituals are transformed in vernacular religion. We call for ethnographically grounded papers that analyze the role of uncertainty in religious practices focusing on the way in which people put to test the efficacy of rituals, sacred sites and figures.

In the last decades social scientists and religious historians have emphasized the need to pay more attention to religion as lived and practiced. Vernacular religion also identified as “popular” religion is finally being recognized in its own value especially thanks to the work of scholars focusing on Christianity such as William Christian, Tanya Luhrmann, Meredith McGuire, Robert Orsi and others. Contrary to the assumption that religion works as a sort of magical remedy against uncertainty, providing people with a set of answers and solutions they totally embrace and rely upon, what emerges from ethnographical accounts is that uncertainty and doubt are inherent in lived religion.

In this panel we want to explore the ways in which the dogmas and rituals created by religious institutions are creatively used and transformed in the everyday lived religion of people. We call for ethnographically grounded papers that explore the role of uncertainty and doubt in religious practices focusing on the way in which people put to test the efficacy of rituals as well as the healing power of sacred figures and sites. How do people establish that a certain religion works for them in a historical period in which they are increasingly aware of the existence of religious traditions that are different from the one they grew up with? How do they criticize with their own religious creativity the dogmas and rules of the religious tradition they belong to?