Dr Fiona Bowie

fiona bowie

Research Affiliate

Fiona Bowie graduated in Anthropology from Durham University in 1978 and the Institute of Social Anthropology in Oxford (1978-1985). She taught at the Universities of Wales and Bristol, with visiting and honorary positions at the Universities of Cambridge, the Carter Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia, and Linköping in Sweden. She is currently a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London, a tutor on the MA in the Study of Cosmology in Culture in the Faculty of Humanities and the Performing Arts at UWTSD, an external tutor at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies and Member of Wolfson College, Oxford. Fiona founded the Afterlife Research Centre, together with some colleagues and graduate students, when at the University of Bristol in around 2010. ARC is a network for scholars and practitioners interested in ethnographic approaches to the afterlife, spirit possession, shamanism, transpersonal anthropology, alternative healing, and related topics: http://www.afterliferesearch.co.uk. Fiona Bowie is currently serving as Honorary Treasurer of the Royal Anthropological Institute and as a European Research Council panel member.

Current Research
Western forms of alternative healing and spiritual encounters, with a particular interest in forms of possession and spirit release practitioners. The Cameroonian African diaspora and the dynamics of the diaspora/homeland experience.

Research interests
•    Ethnography of the afterlife
•    Mediumship, shamanism, spirit possession and spirit release
•    Alternative forms of spiritual healing
•    Anthropology of consciousness
•    Religious experience
•    Pilgrimage
•    African religion and society (Cameroon)
•    African diaspora
•    Kinship (adoption and child circulation)
•    Gender and spirituality

Selected Publications
In press ‘Negotiating Blurred Boundaries: Ethnographic and Methodological Considerations’. In George Chryssides and Stephen Gregg (eds) The Insider/Outsider Debate: New Perspectives in the Study of Religion. Equinox: Sheffield.

2016 ‘How to Study Religious Experience: Methodological Reflections on the Study of the Paranormal’. In Bettina Schmidt (ed.) The Study of Religious Experience. Equinox (pp.13-32).

2015 ‘Miracles’ (pp.161-166), ‘Reincarnation’ (pp.254-256), ‘Survival After Death’ (pp.312-318). In Matt Cardin (ed.) Ghosts, Spirits, and Psychics: The Paranormal from Alchemy to Zombies. Santa Barbara: ABC Clio.

2014 “Believing Impossible Things: Scepticism and Scientific Enquiry’. In Jack Hunter and David Luke (eds) Talking with the Spirits: Ethnographies from between the Worlds., Brisbane, Australia: Daily Grail Publishing, pp.19-56. 

2013 ‘Building Bridges, Dissolving Boundaries: Towards a Methodology for the Ethnographic Study of the Afterlife, Mediumship and Spiritual Beings’. J Am Acad Relig (2013) 81 (3): 698-733 first published online August 2, 2013

2013  ‘History of Cross Country Adoption and Fostering’, Oxford Bibliographies in Childhood Studies. OUP.

2012 ‘Devising Methods for the Ethnographic Study of the Afterlife: Cognition, Empathy and Engagement’. In Jack Hunter (ed.) Paranthropology. Bristol: Paranthropology (pp.99-106).

2011 ‘Miracle in Traditional Religion’  in Graham Twelftree (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Miracles, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, (pp.122-137).

2009  'Anthropology of Religion', Chapter 1 in The Blackwell Companion to the Study of Religion ed. Robert Segal, Oxford & Malden, MA: Blackwell.

2009  'The challenge of multi-sited ethnography' and 'Azi since Conrau' (with Michael Ndobegang) in Ian Fowler and Verkijika G. Fanso (eds.) Encounter, Transformation, and Identity: Peoples of the Western Cameroon Borderlands, 1891-2000, Oxford & New York: Berghahn.

Further details and publications can be found on Fiona’s Academia web site: https://kcl.academia.edu/FionaBowie