Since 2001 I have conducted most of my ethnographic research in Brazil and some, more recently, in Scotland. Alongside teaching and supervising I have published books, chapters and articles on topics ranging from politics, theology, and popular Catholicism, to gender, kinship, ritual, and child labour.
Books and special issues
2017. The Anthropology of Catholicism: A Reader. (Co-edited with Kristin Norget & Valentina Napolitano). University of California Press. (369 pages)
2013. The Other Side of Sacrifice. New anthropological perspectives. (Co-edited with Magnus Course). Ethnos, Special Issue.
2010. Gender, Catholicism, and Morality in Brazil: Virtuous Husbands, Powerful Wives. Palgrave-Macmillan: New York. (224 pages)
2018. A Brilliant Jewel: Sex, Celibacy and the Roman Catholic Church. Religion. DOI: 10.1080/0048721X.2018.1525774. https://doi.org/10.1080/0048721X.2018.1525774
2018. The Ultimate Return: Dissent, apostolic succession and the renewed ministry of Roman Catholic Women Priests. History and Anthropology. DOI:
2017. The Lapsed and the Laity: discipline and lenience in the study of religion. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 23 (3): 503-522.
2014. ‘People Like Us’: Intimacy, Distance, and the Androgyny of Saints’. Current Anthropology. Special Issue edited by Joel Robbins on ‘The Anthropology of Christianity: Unity, Diversity, New Directions’. Pp: 271-280.
2013. The Sacrifice Untold: the monotony and incompleteness of self-sacrifice in Northeast Brazil. Maya Mayblin and Magnus Course (eds.) Ethnos, Special Issue: The Other Side of Sacrifice. New anthropological perspectives. Pp: 342-364.
2012. The Madness of Mothers: agape love and the maternal myth in Northeast Brazil. American Anthropologist, Vol.114, No.2: 240-252.
- Ritual, rites of passage
- Ethics and morality
- Religion, secularism, and atheism
- Political practice and political theology
- Sex, gender, and personhood
- Institutions and institutionalization
- Northeast Brazil and Latin America
Topics interested in supervising
I am interested in supervising students whose work intersects with any of my areas of interest. At present I am particularly interested in supervising projects on ritual, heritage, and rites of passage, especially funerals.
If you are interested in being supervised by Maya Mayblin, please see the link below for more information: