Alfonsina BELLIO

Anthropology, Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités (EPHE-CNRS), France

Fellowship : October 2016 to June 2017

Discipline(s) : Anthropology

Area(s) of expertise : Sociology of religions

Pays : Italy

Research Project : "Prophetic Femininities: Forms of Direct Contact with the Supernatural in Contemporary Calabria and Euro-Mediterranean Conjectures"

The proposed project fits in the continuity of a research path which aims to analyze mediumship and clairvoyance phenomena which characterized certain population strata - women, in the majority of cases - in southern Italy. The Calabrian religious field has changed in a restricted temporal arch. Today, there is a complex reality, in continuous oscillation between the memory of the peasant civilization and a break with the past, between the action of ecclesiastical domestication and the dissemination of new religious movements. A panoramic view of the contemporary pattern of Calabrian prophecy, clairvoyance, and mediumship, its challenges and transformations, shows such a richness and articulation that necessitates a plurality of interpretive approaches. This research is part of a perspective of understanding the dynamics of belief, of the forms of institution of culture and of authority around the religious, while focusing on areas of rewriting new cultural codes.


Alfonsina Bellio is an anthropologist and co-representative for post-doctoral researchers at GSRL, Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités (EPHE-CNRS) in Paris. She is jointly responsible for running the research seminar “Religion and politics: the subject of the Apocolypse” at l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) and lectures at the Catholic University of the West (UCO) in Angers and the University of Bordeaux. She obtained her Master’s degree in social and historical anthropology of Europe at EHESS with distinction, and wrote her thesis (entitled “Women who go with the Dead”) under the direction of Daniel Fabre. She then went on to defend her doctoral thesis in anthropology and literature on the subject “Clairvoyants and Sibyls, Ethnographic Perspectives and Literary References”. She was a temporary lecturer and research assistant in the Department of Humanistic Studies of Calabria (Cosenza, Italy). As a laureate of the program "Research in Paris", she benefited from a scholarship from the City of Paris in 2012-13. She has carried out research and taught in various institutions and research organisations: not only within the department of humanistic studies at the University of Calabria, but also for the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, and the superintendence of historical, artistic, and ethno-anthropological patrimony of Calabria. She is also responsible for the Giuseppe Pitrè dossier for BEROSE (Database of studies and research on the organisation of ethnographic knowledge) and is secretary of FER EURETHNO (Scientific and Technical Cooperation Network for the Council of Europe). The results of her findings have been presented in several international scientific conferences (in Italy, France, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Germany and Canada).

Major publications

-BELLIO A., All’ombra delle pupazze in fiore. Antropologia di un rito nella Calabria grecanica, Calimera: Kurumuny, 2010.

 -BELLIO A., Figure mistiche e nuovi luoghi di culto in Calabria: pellegrinaggi, turismo religioso e patrimonializzazione, in Fiorella Giacalone, dir., Pellegrinaggi e itinerari turistico-religiosi tra identità locali e dinamiche transnazionali. Prospettive europee, Perugia: Morlacchi Editore, pp.185-202, 2015.

 -BELLIO A., « Tradition en Calabre contemporaine : invention, réinvention et instrumentalisation », Anthroserbia, revue du Département d’anthropologie et ethnologie de la Faculté de Philosophie de l’Université de Belgrade, n° 14, pp. 148-164, 2014.

 -BELLIO A., «Women who cook with Angels en Calabria », in F.X. Medina, R. Àvila, I. de Garine (dir.), Food, Imaginaries and Cultural Frontiers. Essays en Honour of Helen Macbeth, «Estudios del Hombre», n°24, 2009, CUSH (Centro Universitario de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades de la Universidad de Guadalajara), Guadalajara, pp. 101-125, 2009.

 -BELLIO A., Au-delà du silence. La parole des femmes voyantes, petit patrimoine calabrais, in L.S. Fournier (dir.), Le petit patrimoine des Européens : objets et valeurs du quotidien, Paris : Harmattan, pp. 27-39, 2008.