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Conviviality and its Discontents

Conviviality and Its Discontents: Religious Pluralism and Encounters in the Contemporary World

18-19 September 2017

EASA Network of Anthropology of Religion meeting

Convenors: Jose Mapril, Ramon Sarró and Ruy Blanes

CRIA-UNL (Room Multiusos 3, Edifício ID, FCSH-New University of Lisbon)


As the world population grows there is greater movement of people towards and between cities, across different continents and geographic landscapes. The resulting concentration of people from diverse religious backgrounds in contemporary cities has constructed a supra-diverse environment where many religions cohabit, although one in which, especially in moments of crisis and uncertainty, religion gets easily identified and reified as the main problem maker. The most recent innovations within the anthropology of religion show a tendency to be too “monistic” (the anthropology of Islam, the anthropology of Christianity, the anthropology of Catholicism, etc.). The worrying outcome is that the practicalities of actual living in multi-religious ecologies have been neglected, if not obscured, by these theoretical divides. Instead of such monolithic views, and in order to offer more realistic ethnographic portrayals of how people live in the plural world of today, we propose to focus on encounters and interactions between religions and between these and the secular.

Following initial discussions between Lisbon and Oxford, and given the urgency to produce post-Brexit reconnections between British and continental academic milieu, we apply to EASA to organize an informal but vibrant workshop in Lisbon where scholars from different EU units, plus some colleagues from US and Canada, may brainstorm models and theories based on their own fieldworks, with the intention to eventually find ways to cooperate towards the understanding of religious cohabitation and conviviality in contemporary cities both in Europe and in the global South, hopefully putting research proposals together, editing volumes, organizing major conferences, etc. This workshop, organized by three members of the Steering Committee of the Network of Anthropology of Religion (Blanes, Mapril and Sarró), will take place in the CRIA (New University, Lisbon), on the 18 and the 19 September 2017, with six consecutive sessions (each with three papers and a discussant) and a final roundtable to discuss future collaborations.


Monday 18 September

9.00 – 9.30 Welcome, inauguration

9.30 – 10.45 “On conviviality: a dialogue”

Mike Rowlands (University College London) and Ramon Sarró (Oxford University)


10.45- 11.00 Coffee Break


11.00 -12.30 Session 1: Mobilities and cohabitation

Chair: Ramon Sarró (Oxford University)

Fields, sites and mobilities: ethnographic approaches to Barcelona Sikhs

Sandra Santos (Universidad Pablo de Olavide)

A tale of one city: pluralism and the making of a mosque in Lisbon

José Mapril (CRIA-UNL)

Evangelical encounters and its limits: Notes on pluralism, conviviality, and interreligious mobilities in Cape Verde

Max Ramos (ICS-UL)


12.30 – 14.00 Lunch


14.00 – 15.30 Session 2: Contacts / Encounters

Chair: José Mapril (CRIA-UNL)

Articulations between Religious Genres: Plurality and Innovation

João Leal (CRIA-UNL)

Religious Spaces as the Contact Zone – Introducing Social and Religious Pluralism in the East European city

Natalia Zawiejska (Jagiellonian University Cracow)

“We are bound together”: religious cohabitation among Guinean migrant families in Lisbon

Ambra Formenti (CRIA-UNL)


15.30 – 15.45 Coffee Break


15.45 – 17.15 Session 3: Pluralism and conviviality

Chair: Ruy Blanes (INCIPIT-Santiago de Compostela)

The Luso-Anussim: an ethnography of the Jews and New-Christians descendants in Portugal

Marina Pignatelli (ISCSP-UL)

The prosperity gospel as a mode of being in convivial settings

Leslie Fesenmeyer (Oxford University)

“We are all shamans”: post-asceticism and spiritual cosmopolitanism in contemporary shamanic practices

Lisa Lazarini (CRIA-UNL)


Tuesday 19 September

9.30 – 10.45 Enough with excuses! On self-critique, Islam and public reason after the Brussels and Paris attacks

Nadia Fadil (Leuven University)

Chair: José Mapril (CRIA-UNL)


10.45-11.00 Coffee Break


11.00 -12.30 Session 4: Heritage making

Chair: Mike Rowlands (University College London)

The Spirits of Crossbones Graveyard: Ritual Eclecticism in Contemporary London

Sondra Hausner (Oxford University)

Contract, Prayer and Becoming: ‘The People of the Prayer’ and their Margins in West Africa

Ramon Sarró (Oxford University)

The Magic of Sintra, or where Lord Byron and Neoshamans meet. Religious Pluralism, Ecology and Heritage

Clara Saraiva (CEC-UL e CRIA) e Roberta Boniolo (CRIA-UNL)

12.30 – 13.00 Final Debate