Divine Agency

Workshop, Via Liguria 20, Roma & Online

Entrance: via Liguria 20
“I Pomeriggi” series

Via Liguria 20, Roma & Online

Entrance: via Liguria 20
“I Pomeriggi” series

The event will start at H16:00 and will be held in English
Istituto Svizzero, entrance from via Liguria 20, Roma
Curated by Anna-Lena Wolf (Roma Calling 2023/2024, Social and Cultural Anthropology)
Free entrance
Registration in presence here
Registration online here

The workshop Divine Agency brings debates about more-than-human agency in anthropology and beyond into conversation with reflections in the anthropology of religion about the ethico-onto-epistemology of the divine.
The workshop brings international renowned anthropologists of religion together to reflect upon questions such as: How do people in different fields of study conceptualize transcendent influence on (more-than) human co-habitation? How does an acting divinity ‚Äúbecome real‚ÄĚ for people? How can emic conceptualizations of divine agency be studied ethnographically? Which conclusions can be drawn for the conceptualization of ‚Äúagency‚ÄĚ and the ‚Äúdivine‚ÄĚ through exploring the compound word of ‚Äúdivine agency‚ÄĚ? In how far is divine agency comparable to human agency or the agency of things? What are political and ethical underpinnings of divine agencies? By pondering about these and related questions, new directions in conceptualizing divine agency are anticipated.


H 16:00 ‚ÄĒ Welcome from Maria B√∂hmer (Istituto Svizzero) and Introduction by Anna-Lena Wolf

H 16:15
‚ÄĒ Keynote Lecture by Valentina Napolitano (University of Toronto)

H 17:15
‚ÄĒ Coffee Break

H 17:30
‚ÄĒ Comments by Agnieszka Halemba (Polish Academy of Sciences) Michaela Sch√§uble (University of Bern), Maya Mayblin (University of Edinburgh) – online.

H 18:15
¬†‚ÄĒ Discussion moderated by Anna-Lena Wolf

H 19:00 ‚ÄĒ


Valentina Napolitano’s interdisciplinary journey bridges various thresholds of sensorial experiences, places, and histories, serving as an author, anthropologist, a Professor at the University of Toronto, and Connaught Scholar. She the author of multiple monographs, and edited collections  including  Migrant Hearts and the Atlantic Return: Transnationalism and the Roman Catholic Church (FUP) , Migration, Mujercitas and Medicine Men: Living in urban Mexico (UCP), (with K. Norget and M. Mayblin) The Anthropology of Catholicism: a Reader (UCP), and (with C. McAllister) Theopolitics in/of the Americas (Social Analysis Journal) as well as work on Pope Francis as a Criollo Pope. Her current work is on mysticism and political theology, borderlands and holy infrastructures, while embracing her diverse Italian, Trans-Mediterranean, English and Canadian heritages alongside her son, Kamau.

PD Dr. Agnieszka Halemba is a social anthropologist currently working at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2002 and habilitation from the University of Warsaw in 2016. Her research focus is on the anthropology of religion and the politics of Marian apparitions with regional expertise in Northern and Inner Asia as well as in Eastern and Central Europe.

Dr. Anna-Lena Wolf is a legal anthropologist. She has conducted research on a labor law reform on Indian tea plantations for her PhD project at the University of Bern. In her current postdoctoral research project at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Anna-Lena Wolf is investigating Catholic canon law in central institutions of the Roman Curia. From September 2023 to July 2024, Anna-Lena Wolf is conducting fieldwork in Rom as a research Fellow at Istituto Svizzero di Roma.

Dr. Maya Mayblin is a social anthropologist and ethnographic film-maker. She is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. Maya’s research spans a range of subjects, from politics and kinship, to death, ritual, and religion. Her writing and visual work is based on long-term ethnographic research, living as a participant observer among the communities she writes about in Brazil and the UK.

Prof. Dr. Michaela Schäuble is a Professor of Social Anthropology with a focus on media anthropology at the University of Bern. She is also a trained documentary filmmaker and regularly curates film programs for exhibitions and film festivals. In 2009 she received her doctorate with a thesis on nationalism and the memory of violence in post-war Croatia. She is currently researching ecstatic religious cults and saint veneration in the Euro-Mediterranean region, as well as trance and staging in ethnographic documentary films.