Emily Pierini, The American University of Rome

Emily Pierini is a social anthropologist with extensive ethnographic fieldwork experience in Brazil and Europe. She obtained her Ph.D in Social Anthropology from the University of Bristol with a thesis on mediumistic experience in the Brazilian Spiritualist Christian Order Vale do Amanhecer (Valley of the Dawn), where she conducted extensive ethnographic research investigating the process of learning mediumship, embodiment, personhood, emotion and senses, spirituality and health. This research was awarded the Royal Anthropological Institute Sutasoma Award. In Brazil she also worked as fieldwork supervisor for the National Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN, Ministry of Culture), researching the variety of Afro-Brazilian religions in the Federal District. In Europe she has researched Goddess Spirituality in the UK, and the expansion of the temples of the Brazilian Vale do Amanhecer in the UK, Portugal and Italy. She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Religious Experience Research Centre, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and she is currently working on a project of an international research network in partnership with Brazilian and European Universities, developing ethnographic methodologies in the field of spirituality and biomedicine.


Redes e Projetos de Pesquisa__________________________________


  • Projeto: Espiritualidade, Saúde, Incorporação, Etnografia



2016. Pierini, Emily and Alberto Groisman (eds), Fieldwork in Religion: Bodily Experience and Ethnographic Knowledge, Journal for the Study of Religious Experience 2.

2016. Pierini, Emily and Alberto Groisman, Introduction. Fieldwork in Religion: Bodily Experience and Ethnographic Knowledge, Journal for the Study of Religious Experience 2: 1-6.

2016. Embodied Encounters:Ethnographic Knowledge, Emotion and Senses in the Vale do Amanhecer’s Spirit Mediumship. Journal for the Study of Religious Experience2: 25-49.

2016. Becoming a Jaguar: Spiritual Routes in the Vale do Amanhecer. In Bettina Schmidt and Steven Engler (eds). Handbook of Contemporary Religions in Brazil. Leiden: Brill, pp 225-232.

2016. Incontri Incorporati: Pratiche Medianiche e Etnografia del Sentire. In S. Botta and M. Ferrara, Corpi Sciamanici: La Nozione di Persona nello Studio dello Sciamanesimo, Roma: Nuova Cultura (forthcoming)

2016. ‘Fieldwork and Embodied Knowledge: Researching the Experiences of Spirit Mediums in the Brazilian Vale do Amanhecer’. In Bettina Schmidt.The Study of Religious Experience: Approaches and Methodologies, London: Equinox, pp. 50-70.

2016. Becoming a Spirit Medium: Initiatory Learning and the Self in the Vale do Amanhecer. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 81(2): 290-314. (Published online in 2014).

2010. Aspectos Sócio-culturais dos Cultos de Matrizes Afros e Afro-brasileiras no Distrito Federal. In E. Pierini and M. Reis. Identificação dos Lugares de Matrizes Africanas e Afro-Brasileira no Distrito Federal e Entorno, Inventário Nacional de Referências Culturais/INRC Lugares de Culto de Matrizes Africanas e Afro-Brasileiras no Distrito Federal e Entorno Fase II. Brasília: Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional, pp. 56-94.

2009. Identità Ibride: l’Esperienza Religiosa nella Vale do Amanhecer. Quaderni di Thule IX, pp. 215-220.

2008. L’Ibridismo Religioso della Vale do Amanhecer. Un’Analisi delle Interazioni tra il Globale e il Locale in Brasile. Quaderni di Thule VIII, pp. 513-518.