BCSR Welcomes Visiting Scholar Valentina Napolitano

Bex Sussman

Valentina Napolitano joins BCSR as a Visiting Scholar this semester.

Valentina Napolitano is Professor of Anthropology, a Connaught Scholar and a former Director of the Latin American Studies program at the University of Toronto. She works on Critical Catholic Studies as well as on anthropology of affects, borderlands and migration, and has a particular interest in political theology, affective histories, anthropology of traces, mysticism and politics, and the work of Michel de Certeau. She is a  co-recipient (with S. Coleman) of a Connaught Global Challenge Award for a project on Entangled Worlds: Sovereignty, Sanctities and Soil and  the author of two ethnographic monographs: Migrant Hearts and the Atlantic Return: Transnationalism and the Roman Catholic Church (FUP, 2016, Finalist Geertz Prize of the Society for Anthropology of Religion) and Migration, Mujercitas and Medicine Men: Living in Urban Mexico (UCP, 2002). She is also the co-editor (with K. Norget and M. Mayblin) of The Anthropology of Catholicism: a Reader (UCP, 2017), and has authored many articles and special issues including with C. McAllister Theopolitics in/of the Americas (Social Analysis, 2020).

In the period visiting the Berkely Center for the Study of Religion, Valentina will be working toward a book manuscript on Mystico-Politics for the 21C. Within the extensiveness of Christianity mystical archives,  apophatic theology  and socio-cultural anthropology,  her  project asks how they might mutually interpellate, in an historicized  way,  while being  seeds  for radical social experiments and micro practices.  Her project recognizes that mystical archives and their   sensory aesthetics can unsettle humanitarian logics of moral hierarchies evoking, instead, spaces of rupture,  new forms of habitation and dwelling, and hermeneutic un-closure and dis-imagination. She is particularly interested in working on  how current migratory and denizenship phenomena  might be intimately connected to mystical archives and radical social practices.