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Badone Ellen, Professor

Ellen Badone


Department of Anthropology

Institute on Globalization & the Human Condition

Department of Religious Studies

Area(s) of Interest:


Research & Supervisory Interests

Over the past three decades, my research has centred on experiences of social, emotional and bodily crisis as well as healing.  My initial fieldwork, in 1983-84, in Brittany, France, focused on interpretations of death and dying.  I was particularly interested in changes in Breton responses to death that had accompanied social change in this region since 1945.  My research on death led me in two directions: anthropology of religion and medical anthropology. In the late 1980s, I worked on the relationships between alternative healing and the biomedical system in Brittany.  In addition, I edited a volume of papers on the tensions between Catholic orthodoxy and popular definitions of religion in Europe.  My dual focus on religion and healing inspired me to work on pilgrimage.  In the 1990s, I did fieldwork on local pilgrimages in Brittany and on a Marian apparition shrine.  More recently, I worked at Les Saintes-Maries de-la-Mer in southern France, a shrine that is particularly important for Roma pilgrims. From 2005-07, I was president of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion, a sub-section of the American Anthropological Association.  Although I am still passionately interested in pilgrimage and other religious quests to understand the world, my current work deals with responses to existential crises evoked through encounters with autism spectrum disorders and mental illness.


PhD Berkeley, 1985


Courses (2016-2017)


  • Anthrop 796 - Ritual and Symbolic Healing


  • Anthrop 2R03 - Religion, Magic and Withcraft
  • Anthrop 3P03 - Research Methods in Cultural Anthropology

Courses (2015-16)


  • Anthrop 2RO3 - Religion, Magic and Witchcraft


  • Anthrop 3PO3 - Research Methods in Cultural
  • Anthrop 796 - Ritual and Symbolic Healing

Courses (2014-15)


  • Anthrop 2RO3E - Religion, Magic and Witchcraft


  • Anthrop 3PO3 - Research Methods in Cultural
  • Anthrop 782 - Diasporas, Transnationalism and Religious Identities



2015 “Religious Heritage and the Re-enchantment of the World in Brittany.”  Material Religion 11(1):4-24.

2014 “Special Section: Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands. Afterword.”  Religion and Society: Advances in Research 5:200-204. 

2014 “New Pilgrims on a Medieval Route: Mobility and Community on the Tro Breiz.Culture and Religion 15(4):452-473.  

2014 "Conventional and Unconventional Pilgrimages: Conceptualizing Sacred Travel in the Twenty-Frist Century." In Redefining Pilgrimage: New Perspectives on Historical and Contemporary Pilgrimages. Anton Pazos, ed. Farnham, UK: Ashgate. 7-31.

2013 "Reflections on Death, Religion, Identity and the Anthropology of Religion." In A Companion to the Anthropology of Religion. Janice Boddy and Michael Lambek, eds. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons. 425-443.

2012 “La Bretagne depuis trente ans: le regard d’une ethnologue canadienne.”  Ethnologie française 2012/4:635-645. 

2012 "Pardons, Pilgrimage and the (Re-)construction of Identities in Brittany." In Gender, Nation and Religion in European Pilgrimage. Willy Jansen and Catrien Notermans, eds. Ashgate: Farnham, Surrey, UK. 145-161.

2008 “Pilgrimage, Tourism and the Da Vinci Code at Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France.” Culture and Religion 9(1) :23-44.

2008 “Illness, Biomedicine and Alternative Healing in Brittany, France.”  Medical Anthropology: Cross-Cultural Studies in Health and Illness 27(2):190-218.

2007 “Echoes from Kerizinen: Pilgrimage, Narrative and the Construction of Sacred History at a Marian Shrine in Northwestern France. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13:453-470.

2005 “Mortality, Medicines and Technologies.”  (Invited Review Article of On Our Way: The Final Passage Through Life and Death,  Robert Kastenbaum. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004; Remaking Life and Death: Toward an Anthropology of the Biosciences, Sarah Franklin and Margaret Lock, eds. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 2003; and  Social Lives of Medicines.  Susan Reynolds Whyte, Sjaak van der Geest, and Anita Hardon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.) American Anthropologist 107(3) :501-504.

2004 Intersecting Journeys: The Anthropology of Pilgrimage and Tourism.  Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press (edited with Sharon R. Roseman).

1995 Suspending Disbelief: An Encounter with the Occult in Brittany. Anthropology and Humanism 20:7-12.

1992 The Construction of National Identity in Brittany and Quebec. (Invited Review Article of: Nationalism and the Politics of Culture in Quebec, by Richard Handler. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988; and We are not French! Language, Culture and Identity in Brittany, by Maryon McDonald. London: Routledge, 1989.) American Ethnologist, 19:806-817.

1991 Ethnography, Fiction, and the Meanings of the Past in Brittany. American Ethnologist, 18:618-646.

1990 Religious Orthodoxy and Popular Faith in European Society.  Editor of volume.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press (editor).  

1989  The Appointed Hour: Death, Worldview and Social Change in Brittany. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.