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Department of Social Anthropology



My research brings together the anthropology of religion and morality with the anthropology of ethnicity and nationalism. Through an ethnographic focus on the former Yugoslavia, I ask how collective identity can function as a moral framework within which people cultivate themselves as persons, and through which they make claims about the world.

My doctoral project explored the contemporary revitalization of Serbian Orthodox Christianity following the collapse of socialist Yugoslavia in the 1990s. I focused on the ways that a demographically-diverse range of people in and around the central Serbian town of Kraljevo strive to ‘live liturgically’ as Orthodox Christian ‘believers’. During extensive fieldwork I studied practices of fasting, commemoration, and collective worship, as well as discourses surrounding national history, repentance, and suffering. I demonstrated how, in this context, eschatological claims about eternity are mediated through local perceptions of Serbian peoplehood.

Before coming to Cambridge, I completed an MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology at University College London. For this I conducted fieldwork in Russia’s Leningrad Oblast, exploring issues of religious knowledge and education in post-Soviet Russian Orthodoxy. 

I am currently a research fellow on a new project – Orthodox Christian Material Ecology and the Sociopolitics of Religion – based out of the Anthropology department at University College London. As part of this project I will undertake new fieldwork which will explore the materiality of Orthodox reading practices, as well as the tensions surrounding territory and religious material heritage, both in Serbia and Kosovo. 




Nationalism and ethnic belonging; personhood and its connection to peoplehood; ethnography of temporality and historical consciousness; the anthropology of Orthodox Christianity; postsocialism; Eastern and Southeastern Europe (especially Serbia and Kosovo). 

Postdoctoral affiliate
 Nicholas  Lackenby (2015)

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