Anastasia Theodoropoulos Awarded the 2021-2022 Anthropology Dissertation Fellowship

Departmental News

Posted:  Jul 28, 2021 - 01:00pm

Anastasia Theodoropoulos has been awarded the 2021-2022 Anthropology Dissertation Fellowship.  The fellowship provides funding for a senior graduate student to complete their dissertation research. 

Research Abstract

In recent decades Brazil has experienced tumultuous and rapid economic, political, and social transformations entailing reconfigurations of identity, and especially class. This dissertation explores the co‐construction of religious identity and social class through individual narratives and performances from members of the Brazilian middle class who have, since the 1980s, developed a new Brazilian Orthodox Christian identity born out of attempts to connect with what they perceive as tradição verdadeira or “authentic tradition.” Converts to Eastern Orthodox Christianity worship in ornately styled churches, replete with icons, incense, and many symbolic ritual elements, and they emphasize many of the most conservative elements from Orthodoxy, including gender-segregated clothing styles. In this ethnographic study I explore how and why converts to this seemingly ancient branch of Christianity explain their membership in terms of authenticity, and how authenticity itself takes on new social importance as economic transformations increasingly move people out of traditional social hierarchies and into the shifting plurality of the broad, global middle classes.