Diana Espírito Santo

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Associated researchers


Research Context

Cuba | Brazil

Research Interests

Possesion | Personhood | Religious learning

Institutional Subunit


Biographical Note

Diana Espírito Santo studied psychology, philosophy and anthropology at the London School of Economics before completing her PhD in Social Anthropology at the University College London in 2009. In her doctoral dissertation, she focused on processes of learning and the construction of selfhood among mediunity practitioners of Cuban-Creole Spiritism. Her monograph, entitled "Developing the Dead: Mediumship and Selfhood in Cuban Espiritismo" was published by the University Press of Florida in 2015. Her recent postdoctoral work — based at the Instituto de Ciências Sociais (UL) from 2009 to 2012, and at CRIA/FCSH-UNL from 2012 to 2015 — examined the relationship between cosmology, social history and creative experience in the Afro-Brazilian religious practice of Umbanda in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Her theoretical interests include the anthropology of knowledge and divination, cognition and learning, material culture and morality, dreams, and ontologies of the self. She now works as an assistant professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and is developing a project on Chilean and Argentinian parapsychologists.

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