Associate Professor in the Social Anthropology of Africa
Fellow of St Antony's College
Ramon Sarró is an Associate Professor of the Anthropology of Africa at ISCA. He has been a Fellow at the Program for Agrarian Studies, Yale (2010-11) and has been a member of the French network REASOPO since 2009. He has conducted research in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is the author of the award-winning The Politics of Religious Change on the Upper Guinea Coast: Iconoclasm Done and Undone (International African Institute 2009) and the co-editor, with David Berliner, of Learning Religion: Anthropological Approaches (Berghahn 2007). He has directed the EU (NORFACE) programme "Recognizing Christianity: How African Migrants Redefine the European Religious Heritage” (2007-2010), and has been the British PI of the programme “Currents of Faith - Places of Memory”, an EU (HERA) consortium (2013-1016), for which he has conducted 9 months of fieldwork in rural Angola. In 2010, together with Simon Coleman (Toronto), he created the annual review journal Religion and Society: Advances in Research (Berghahn).
Sarró has worked on the agrarian, religious and political dimensions of social change in Africa and the diaspora, as well as on the manifestations of prophetic imagination and on material culture (including its iconoclastic destruction). A manuscript on the prophetic invention of a Kongo alphabet is currently under preparation. Currently, he is also the PI of the international project “Mangroves and Aluminium”, funded by the John Fell Fund large grants award scheme (2018-19), in which team of researchers from Europe and Guinea (Conakry) are assessing the impact of aluminium mining upon the mangrove-rice farming communities of the Guinean coast, a region he has been familiar with since 1992. This is accompanied by a twin project which consists on the curation of an exhibit on Baga art in New York, with the focus on the ways Baga art expresses the relationships between farmers, animals and environment. Since 2013 Sarro has also been very active in the revitalization of the Ethnographic National Museum of Bissau, an institution created in 1987 but that had disappeared during the civil war of 1998-99. Based on old photographs, Sarro and a team of researchers have reconstructed the history of the museum and managed to re-create it in the capital of the West African country. Together with Marina Temudo and Roger Canals, he is currently editing a film, tentatively entitled “Chasing Shadows”, that they have shot in Guinea Bissau, capturing the material works of prophetic imagination among Balanta famers.