Laura Grillo 

Dr. Laura S. Grillo

Ph.D., History of Religions,
University of Chicago
M.Div., Union Theological
Seminary

 

Curriculum Vitae

Links:

http://www.religion-compass.com/

 

 

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Laura S. Grillo holds a Ph.D. in History of Religions from The University of Chicago, a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree from Union Theological Seminary and an A.B. in Religious Studies from Brown University. Her fieldwork on contemporary urban West African divination was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Academy of Religions and the West Africa Research Association. Her research grounds divination in epistemology and explores its implications for personhood, agency, identity and ethics. Such studies appear in The Blackwell Companion to Religious Ethics, The Journal of Religious Ethics, and Religions of the World and The Histories, Languages and Cultures of West Africa. Her most recent analysis of divination, sacrifice and the construction of identity will be published in the anthology, Religion Crossing Boundaries: Transnational Dynamics in African and the New African Diasporic Religions. She is the author of overviews of African religions that appear in The Encyclopedia of Religion, Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion, as well as Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, and Encyclopedia Britannica. In addition, her memoir, Ask for the Road, about her negotiation of destiny with African diviners, won her six Writer’s Residency Fellowships for creative non-fiction. Grillo held postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Religions at The University of Chicago and The Coleman Center for African Studies at UCLA. Since 2007 she has served as Co-achair of the African Religions Group of the American Academy of Religions. She teaches in the department of Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute.

 

Publications Include:

–“When you make sacrifice, no one is a stranger’: Divination, sacrifice and identity among translocals in the West African urban diaspora,” Religion Crossing Boundaries: Transnational Dynamics in African and the New African Diasporic Religions.  Ed. Afe Adogame and James Spickard. Religion and Social Order series, Leiden: E.J. Brill (forthcoming).
–“Divination: Epistemology,Agency and the Construction of Identity in Contemporary West Africa .” Religion Compass, Blackwell Press (forthcoming).
–“Signs, Doors and Games: Divination’s Dynamic Visual Canon,”  Proceedings from Sacred Knowledge, Sacred Power and Performance: Ifa Divination in West Africa and the African Diaspora, an International Conference at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (forthcoming).           
Memoir as Method: An Exploration of Divination,”  Proceedings from Divination and Dialogue, an International Conference at the University of Kent, Canterbury, England (forthcoming).
–“Rambu Solo’: The Toraja Cult of the Dead and Embodied Imagination” in Varieties of Mythic Experience:  Essays on Psyche, Religion and Culture. Daimon-Verlag (2008).
–“Divination: The  Innovation and Adaptation of Traditional Religions in Response to the Contingencies of Contemporary Urban West Africa,” in The Histories, Languages and cultures of West Africa: Interdisciplinary Essays.  UK:Edwin Mellen Press, 2006.
–“Griaule, Marcel” and “Dieterlen, Germaine,” in Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd Edition. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005.
–“Divination In the Cast of Ethics, ” in The Blackwell Companion to Religious Ethics Oxford, England: Blackwell Publishers, 2005.
–“Fulbe” in Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart vierte Auflage, J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck) Tübingen, Germany (2000)
–“Dogon: religionsgeschichtlich”in Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart vierte Auflage, J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck) Tübingen, Germany, 2000.
– Hermann Hochegger ed. Encyclopedia of Ritual Symbolics., 26 vols. Institute of Anthropological Research (Ceeba) Bandundu: R.D. Congo. Transl. with Robert E. Smith. Vols 1&2, 2000, 2001.
–“Religion and Art in Africa,” in Encyclopedia Britannica, CD-ROM. Encyclopedia Britannica. 1999.
–“African Religions” in Encyclopedia Britannica, CD-ROM. Encyclopedia Britannica. 1999.
–“Divination in Contemporary Urban West Africa,” Religious Studies News AAR 13/3 (1998).
–“The Body in African Religions,” in Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion, Ed. Serinity Young.   Macmillan Press, 1999.
–“Purification,” in Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion, Ed. Serinity Young.   Macmillan Press, 1999.
–“The Body in African Religions,” in Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion, Ed. Serinity Young.   Macmillan Press, 1999.
–“The Circle” in Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion, Ed. Serinity Young. Macmillan Press, 1999.
–“African Religions” in Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion, Ed. Serinity Young. Macmillan Press, 1999.
–“African Traditional Religions,” in Microsoft’s CD ROM Encarta Encyclopedia, 1997.
–“The Diversity and Vitality of Primal Religions,”  Chapter 1 inReligions of the World Third Edition, Ed. Niels C. Nielsen, Jr. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993.
– “Dogon Divination as an Ethic of Nature” Journal of Religious Ethics 20 (1992):309-330.
– Pernet, Henry.  Ritual Masks: Deceptions and Revelations.  Transl. Laura S. Grillo.  Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1992.

 

Areas of Specialization:

Comparative Religious Studies & Cultural Anthropology Methodological Approaches African & African Diaspora Religious Traditions Divination

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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