NAPOLITANO, VALENTINA Contact Areas of Interest

Napolitano, Valentina
Department of Anthropology
19 Russell Street, Room 218
Toronto, ON
t: 416-978-2754
  • Catholicism and affects
  • Psychoanalysis, histories and traces
  • Religions and borderlands
  • Sex, gender and personhood
  • Political theologies and sovereignty


Valentina Napolitano works on Anthropology of Catholicism with a particular interest on the intersection between Catholicism, gender and transnational migration. She is also interested in the interface between anthropology and psychoanalysis and the work of Michel de Certeau.

Her forthcoming book is Migrant Hearts and the Atlantic Return (Fordham University Press) and she currently also working on a Reader in Anthropology of Catholicism (co-edited with Maya Mayblin and Kristin Norget). Her new research is on the Criollo Pope and Bordering Madonnas at the US/Mexican Borderland.

Primary Teaching

I am currently chairing the Latin American Studies Program at the University of Toronto and I teach on Reading Ethnographies, Subjectivity and Human Nature, Anthropology of Traces and Anthropology of Latin America.

Selected Publications


(In Press, Fall 2015) Migrant Hearts and the Atlantic Return: Humanitas and the challenge of transnationalism to the Roman Catholic Church. Fordham University Press, New York.

2002. Migration, Mujercitas and Medicine Men: living in urban Mexico. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Edited Books and Special Issues

(Forthcoming, 2016) Napolitano, Valentina, Maya Mayblin, and Kristin Norget, eds. The Anthropology of Catholicism: A Companion Reader. University of California Press.

2011 Napolitano, V. and K. Norget, eds. Economies of Sanctities: the Translocal Roman Catholic Church in Latin America. Special Issue of Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds 5.3.

2007 Napolitano, V. and D. Pratten, eds. Michel de Certeau Ethnography and the Challenge of Plurality. Special issue of Social Anthropology 15.1.

1998 Napolitano, V. and X. Leyva Solano, eds. Encuentros Antropologicos: Power, Identity and Mobility in Mexican Society. London: ILAS Series.


(Under Review) “Catholic Theology of Poverty and ‘the Globalization of Indifference.'” Market and Morality. Edited by F. Osella and D. Rudnyckyj. Cambridge University Press.

(Forthcoming) “On a Political Economy of Political Theology: El Señor los Milagros.” The Anthropology of Catholicism: A Companion Reader. Edited by Valentina Napolitano, Maya Mayblin, and Kristin Norget. University of California Press.

2015 “Anthropology and Traces”. Anthropological Theory 15.1.

2013 “The Atlantic Return and the Payback of Evangelization.”

2011 “Phantomatic Presences and Bioreligiosity – on the Legionaries of Christ and the Jesuit Order.” Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds.

2011 with Kristin Norget. “Economies of Sanctity.” Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds. Special Issue on Economy of Sanctity and the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America.

2009 The Virgin of Guadalupe, a Nexus of Affect.” Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute.

2009 La ciudadaníacatólica y la “cultura de la vida”: notasacerca de la migraciónlatinoamericana y la iglesiacatólicaromana en Roma. EstudiosSociales.

2007 with David Pratten. “Michel de Certeau: Ethnography and the Challenge of Plurality.” Social Anthropology.

2007 Of Migrant Revelations and Anthropological Awakenings. Social Anthropology.

2005 Social Suffering and Embodied States of Male Transnational Migrancy in San Francisco, California. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power.

2003 Complementary medicine: cosmopolitan and popular knowledge, and transcultural translations – cases from Urban Mexico. Theory, Culture & Society.