Bernardo Brown registers with IIAS

BERNARDOHis biographical note: “I am an anthropologist of South Asia specialized in the culture and history of Catholic Sri Lanka. The project I am currently working on is a multi-sited ethnography of Catholic clergy who travel between Sri Lanka and Italy. In particular, my research is interested in the forms of religiosity that emerge in transnational contexts and the encounter of different world Christian traditions.

DSC_0690 Pic By Mangala

South Asian priests – who are appointed to serve the needs of Catholics working in Europe – are presented with a number of theological and cultural questions that challenge the traditional roles and expectations of clergy in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, problems that arise when Christian traditions from different geographic origins intersect, cease to be the exclusive concern of theologically oriented debates and become an issue of everyday interest to Catholic laity. With transnational migration, Catholics from diverse national, ethnic and racial origins, are required share religious rituals, festivities and places of worship with people who otherwise they would not engage with in such intimate interactions.

Sri Lankan Catholic priests working in Italy negotiate tensions and misunderstandings that arise between Italian and Sri Lankan Catholics, as they strive to build common grounds for multi-ethnic religious participation. My research work therefore focuses on how Sri Lankan Catholic laity and clergy come to understand their religion after experiencing firsthand the different ways of being Catholic that exist beyond the borders of their nation.”

DSC_0677 DSC_0681 Pics by Mangala

Given the interdisciplinary and cross-regional character of my work, IIAS offers an ideal setting to collaborate with scholars from different fields in the humanities and social sciences. – See more at:


Also see Bernardo Brown: “Undocumented Sri Lankan Migration to Italy: Its Rise and Fall,” 8 Feb 2012,

Leave a comment

Filed under historical interpretation, immigration, life stories, sri lankan society, world affairs

Leave a Reply