Junior scholar session

Junior scholar sessions (26th):
Open for other conferences attendances, but the focus is solely on the junior scholar’s papers.

13.00-17.00: session

Chair: Emil Saggau

Junior scholars
Leonardo Marcondes Alves, VID Specialized University, Stavanger
Maria Borup, University of Copenhagen
Anoo Niskanen, Åbo Akademi

Michael Brixtofte Petersen, Roskilde University
Maja Balle, Roskilde University

Tuomas Martikainen, Senior Researcher for Michael Brixtofte Petersen
Sebastian Rimestad, Senior Research Fellow for Maria Borup
Magdalena Nordin, Associated professor for Anoo Niskanen
Bjørn Thomassen, professor for Leonardo Marcondes Alves
Emil Saggau, Research Fellow for Maja Balle

18.00. dinner for Junior scholar and respondents


Book of Abstracts - Junior scholars

Migration experience and Bible interpretation among Latin Pentecostal congregations in the Nordic countries

Leonardo Marcondes Alves

Based on an ethnographic research on Spanish or Portuguese speaking Pentecostal congregations in Norway, I discuss how Latin Americans bring their migrant experiences to the interpretation of the Bible. Moreover, this Scriptures becomes a common ground to negotiate meaning amidst congregations formed by people of several backgrounds. Coming from different religious traditions, congregants have diverse assumptions and interpretive strategies. A common ground brings people together as congregations is an analogical interpretive strategy, which allows to communicate across such diversity. Allusions to biblical texts, characters, idioms, and narratives are integrated by analogy to the congregants’ life stories. As such, the Bible provides purpose and orientation to interpret everyday life and events at home and from their former countries. In this analogical reading, major life challenges – mobility, family illness, political uncertainty, among others – gain comprehension as they are seen with biblical senses. This analogical interpretation affects even the conception of the Bible, as personal lives reenact signs of divine intervention, making the migrant lives “unbound Scriptures”. While many works from the anthropology of reading advance our current understanding about the reception of the Bible, migrant hermeneutics is a novel field, this work contribute by providing a situated account in the Nordic context.

Localising Orthodoxy: Notions of history among Russian Orthodox Christians in Copenhagen

Maria Borup

Studies of Eastern Orthodox congregations in Western Europe have pointed to a tendency among Orthodox Christians to actively engage with local culture and history. This is done for example by creating new historical narratives that connect Orthodox Christianity with local history and by adopting local pre-schism saints as Orthodox. This preoccupation with establishing ancient connections between Orthodoxy and local history can be interpreted as a way for Orthodox Christians to establish a sense of belonging for themselves in countries where they are a religious minority. In the presentation I will discuss this theme on the basis of fieldwork and interviews conducted from September to December 2020 in the Alexander Nevsky Church (ROCOR), a Russian Orthodox congregation in central Copenhagen, only a short walk from the royal castle of Amalienborg. This is the oldest Orthodox congregation in Denmark and the only purpose-built Orthodox church as well. Its members are not only Russian migrants and descendants but also Danish converts and other Orthodox migrants of various nationalities. The focus of my presentation will be on discussing the different historical connections invoked by individual informants with particular attention to the role of material places and objects in these narratives.

Identitetsprocesser hos sverigefinska gammallaestadianer

Anoo Niskanen

Syftet med detta avhandlingsprojekt i religionsvetenskap är att undersöka processer kring identitetsskapande och levd religion hos nuvarande och före detta medlemmar i en av de sverigefinska gammallaestadianska fridsföreningar som ingår i Sveriges Fridsföreningars Centralorganisation, SFC, för att se hur tro och identitet formuleras och konstrueras i en föränderlig tid bland nuvarande och före detta medlemmar ur den aktuella föreningen.

Devotion, values, and transnational connections among Polish Catholics in Denmark

Michael Brixtofte Petersen

Polish migrants are the largest group of migrants in Denmark and the largest "non-Danish" language group in The Catholic Church in Denmark. Thus, the Church now becomes a place of devotion and a connection to Polishness in organizational and emotional form. While the literature on Christianity and migration has often focused on the migratory process as an event of radical rupture and change in people's lives, my Ph.D. aims at showing how The Catholic Church ensures a sense of existential continuity in a diasporic setting. My analysis focuses on how ethical and value-based rationalities concerning family values, work, and sexuality are articulated and negotiated in a Polish Catholic community to show this sense of continuity. I am applying my ethnography in dialogue with Max Weber and contemporary anthropological perspectives on ethics and religion to address these questions. Not only are these ethical topics central in Catholic moral teaching, but they are also often described and perceived as some of the dominant differences in values between Denmark and Poland. Furthermore, individuals experience and evaluate these questions in their everyday lives. Therefore, I argue that these different layers of analysis require a combination of an institutional perspective and a lived religion perspective. 


Latin American accounts of Catholic life in Denmark

Maja Balle

The Spanish speaking catholic communities in Denmark are very diverse although they are relatively small. The religious lives of Latin American migrants of different nationalities who settle in Denmark for longer or shorter period of time have received only little attention in the research literature. As a Ph.D. student on the research project The Catholic Ethics and the Spirit of Global Modernity - Global Catholicism in a Danish & transnational context, I explore the changing role and place of religion for individual migrants. I examine the ways in which they meet Danish society and look at how religion in a broader context plays out in new shapes in new culturally and religiously plural settings. My research dives into notions about lived religion and material aspects of religious practices, together with the connection to the Latin American homelands. The initial part of my fieldwork focuses on the narratives and life histories produced by catholic migrants coming primarily from Mexico and Argentina.

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