Dr Ramon Sarró

ramon sarro web

Associate Professor in the Social Anthropology of Africa

Fellow of St Antony's College

Director of Graduate Studies

(PhD, London 1999, Habilitação, Lisbon 2010)

Prior to joining ISCA in October 2012, Ramon Sarró had been a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon since 2002, as well as a Fellow at the Program for Agrarian Studies, Yale (2010-11). He has been a member of the French network REASOPO since 2009. He has conducted research in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is the author of the award-winning The Politics of Religious Change on the Upper Guinea Coast: Iconoclasm Done and Undone (International African Institute 2009) and co-editor, with A. Pedroso de Lima Lima, of Terrenos Metropolitanos: Desafios Metodológicos (ICS 2007), with D. Berliner of Learning Religion: Anthropological Approaches (Berghahn 2007), and with R. Blanes and M. Balkenhol of Atlantic Perspectives: Places, Memories and Spirits in Europe, Africa and the Americas, forthcoming in September 2019 in Berghahn). He has directed the EU (NORFACE) programme "Recognizing Christianity: How African Migrants Redefine the European Religious Heritage” (2007-2010), and has been the British PI of the programme “Currents of Faith - Places of Memory”, an EU (HERA) consortium (2013-1016), for which he has conducted 9 months of fieldwork in rural Angola. In 2010, together with Simon Coleman (Toronto), he created the annual review journal Religion and Society: Advances in Research (Berghahn).

Sarró has worked on the agrarian, religious and political dimensions of social change in Africa and the diaspora, as well as on the manifestations of prophetic imagination and on material culture (including its iconoclastic destruction). A manuscript on the prophetic invention of a Kongo alphabet is currently under preparation. Currently, he is also the PI of the international project “Mangroves and Aluminium”, funded by the John Fell Fund large grants award scheme (2018-19), in which team of researchers from Europe and Guinea (Conakry) are assessing the impact of aluminium mining upon the mangrove-rice farming communities of the Guinean coast, a region he has been familiar with since 1992. This is accompanied by a twin project which consists on the curation of an exhibit on Baga art in New York, with the focus on the ways Baga art expresses the relationships between farmers, animals and environment. Since 2013 Sarro has also been very active in the revitalization of the Ethnographic National Museum of Bissau, an institution created in 1987 but that had disappeared during the civil war of 1998-99. Based on old photographs, Sarro and a team of researchers have reconstructed the history of the museum and managed to re-create it in the capital of the West African country. A book in Portuguese, funded by the Gulbenkian Foundation, narrates the research and shows the images digitally recuperated (O Museu Nacional Etnográfico da Guiné-Bissau: Imagens para uma História, Porto 2018). Together with Marina P. Temudo and Roger Canals, he is currently editing a film, tentatively entitled “Chasing Shadows”, that they have shot in Guinea-Bissau, capturing the material works of prophetic imagination among Balanta famers.


Email: ramon.sarro@anthro.ox.ac.uk

Some recent publications

(with Marina P. Temudo). ‘Prophetic Enclaves: Memories, Heritage and Environment in Mbanza Kongo Angola’. In Balkenhol, M. R. Blanes and R. Sarro (eds). Atlantic Perspectives: Places, Spirits and Memories in Africa, Europe and the Americas Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books (2019).

‘How to do Things with Secrets: Baga ways of speaking and writing’. Submitted to peer-reviewed journal. In consideration.

(with Marina P. Temudo) ‘In the Shade of Religion: The Works of Prophetic Imagination in Guinea Bissau’. Submitted to peer-reviewed journal. In consideration.

‘Entre Art et Écriture : l´Invention du Mandombe en Pays Kongo’ Terrain : Anthropologie et Sciences Humaines, 70 (2018): 104-125.

‘Religious Pluralism and the Limits of Ecumenism in Mbanza Kongo, Angola’. Journal of Southern African Studies 44 (2) (2018):239-251.

‘El Retorno del Eterno Retorno: Notas sobre la Copia, la Participación y la Historia’. RePOCS (Revista Pós Ciencias Sociais). 15 (30) (2018): 19-28

‘Prophecy’ in H. Callam (ed.) Wiley International Encyclopaedia of Anthropology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell (2018).

 (with Ruy Blanes). ´Geração, presença e memória: a Igreja Tocoista em Angola’. Etnografica 19 (1) (2015).

Hope, Margin, Example: The Kimbanguist Diaspora in Portugal. In J. Garnett and S. Hausner (eds) Diaspora in Religion: Cultures of Citizenship. MacMillan. (2018). 

(with Miguel de Barros) “History, Mixture, Modernity: Religious Pluralism in Guinea-Bissau Today” In Green, T. and P. Chabal (eds) Guinea-Bissau: From Colony to Narco-State. London: Hurst. (2015)

‘Què mengen els bruixots?’ in Houseman, M. and R. Sarró (eds). De l’Africa a l’Antropologia: Assaigs en homenatge a Lluis Mallart. Girona: Publicaciones de la Fundació Catalana del Patrimoni Cultural. (2014).

2014   (with Anne Mélice) “Le renversement du monde dans le message de  Simon Kimbangu”, in E. M'Bokolo and K. Sabakinu (eds), Simon Kimbangu: le prophète de la libération de l'homme noir, Paris: L'Harmattan, Vol 2, (2014) : 21-26.