Clara Saraiva

Senior Researcher


Biographical note

Clara Saraiva is a social and cultural anthropologist, senior research fellow at the Centre for Comparative Studies (CEC), University of Lisbon, and a collaborator of the  Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA). She was a Visiting  Professor at University of California Berkeley (2013); Brown University (2001-02 and 2008) and a Research Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University (2001-2002 and 2008) and at the University of California Berkeley in 2013.

Specialized in the field of Anthropology of Religion and Ritual, she has researched the conceptions of death and funeral rituals in various contexts. He directed the FCT sponsored project “The invisibility of death among the migrant populations in Portugal”. Since 2004 he has been working on religious transnationalism and the expansion of Afro-Brazilian religions in Portugal, with field work in Portugal and Brazil. She is PI of the European project HERA “HERILIGION: The heritagization of religion and the sacralization of heritage in contemporary Europe”. She has published widely in various international journals and publishers as Brill and Berghahn on the subject of death, migrations, religions and transnational therapies.

She was (2013-2017) the vice-president of the Society for International Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF), and is currently President of the Association of Portuguese Anthropology (APA),  a  board member of the World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA).

Research main areas

  • Anthropology of Religion and Ritual;
  • Migrations, circulation of people;
  • Religious transnationalism and heritage;
  • Anthropology of health and emotions;
  • Africa and Brazil: colonialismo and post-colonialism.

Recent publications

  • SARAIVA, Clara, MARGRY, Peter Jan, POVEDAK, Kinga, OBADIA, Lionel e MAPRIL,José (orgs) 2016 Experiencing religion: new approaches towards personal religiosity, Berlin, Lit-Verlag.
  • SARAIVA, Clara 2016 “Orixás across the Atlantic. The diaspora of Afro-Brazilian Religions in Europe” The Handbook of Contemporary Brazilian Religions in Brazil, ed. by Bettina Schmidt and Stephen Engler, London, Brill.
  • SARAIVA, Clara. 2016. “Circulating spirits and dead bodies: Funerary transnationalism among immigrants from Guinea Bissau in Portugal”.  African Diaspora  9 (1/2):1-16.
  • SARAIVA, Clara e MAPRIL, José 2014 “Scenarios of death in contexts of mobility: Guineans and Bangladeshi in Lisbon in Ricarda Vidal and Maria José Blanco , (eds.) The Carnival of Death, Oxford, Berhghan Books.
  • SARAIVA, Clara 2013 “Pretos-velhos across the Atlantic—Afro-Brazilian cults in Portugal”, in Manuel Vasquez e Cristina Rocha (eds.) The diaspora of Brazilian Religions. London, Brill, pp 197-222.
  • SARAIVA, Clara 2013 “Blood, sacrifices and religious freedom: Afro-Brazilian associations in Portugal” in José Mapril , Ruy Blanes (eds.) Sites and Politics of Religious Diversity in Southern Europe. The Best of all Gods, International Studies in Religion and Society series, Leiden, Brill , pp 129-154.
  • SARAIVA, Clara; MAPRIL, José 2012 « Le lieu de la « bonne mort »  pour les migrants guinéens et bangladais au Portugal », Revue Europeéne des migrations internationales (REMI) 28 (3) : 51-70.
  • SARAIVA, Clara 2008 “Transnational Migrants and Transnational Spirits: An African religion in Lisbon”, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Special issue ed. Grillo, R.; Mazzucato, V. 34 (2) March 2008: 253-270.

Some publications are available in the repository of the University of Lisbon.

Citizenship, Migration, Heritage and Cosmopolitanism / CITCOM

HERILIGION: The Heritagization of Religion and the Sacralization of Heritage in Contemporary Europe