For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
You are using a browser that is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please upgrade your browser. The site may not present itself correctly if you continue browsing.

Dr. C. (Carolina) Ivanescu

Faculty of Humanities
Religion Studies

Visiting address
  • Kloveniersburgwal 48
Postal address
  • Postbus 1622
    1000 BP Amsterdam
  • CV

    Carolina Ivanescu (Arad, 1979) obtained her Master’s degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Romanian Philology at the Eötvös Loránd University Budapest. For her Cultural Anthropology degree she has conducted fieldwork in Tibetan communities living in exile in India and Nepal, working as a volunteer for Gyudmed Tantric College Dharamsala and the Tibetan Library of Works and Archives. Subsequently she moved to the Netherlands where she completed a Research Master in the Social Sciences at the International School for the Humanities and the Social Sciences, University of Amsterdam. For her MSc degree she conducted research on the sartorial preferences of Pakistani young women in the Netherlands. While in the second year of her Research Master she started her doctoral studies at the Department of Sociology of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. During her doctoral years she has been part of the chair Citizenship and Identity, a cooperation between the City of Rotterdam and the Erasmus University. She has also been involved in the supervision and teaching of students and has been a member of the research group CIMIC. While finalizing her dissertation, she has worked as an academic researcher on the European integration Fund financed project IMPACIM shared between the Sociology and the Public Administration departments of Erasmus University Rotterdam. At present Carolina is Lecturer in Religion and Society at the Department of History, European Studies and Religious Studies, University of Amsterdam.


    Courses in 2016-2017:

    Introduction to religious studies II - Inleiding Religiewetenschappen II 

    Sociology of religion - Godsdienstsociologie

    Islam in Europa

    Religion, diversity and the (post)secular society - Religie, diversiteit en de (post)seculiere samenleving

    Religion,violence and conflict resolution

    Religions in today's society - Religies in de hedendaagse samenleving




  • About me

    Coming from a family affected in its peculiar combination of Eastern Orthodox and Catholic traditions by the biting tooth of communism, the overwhelming sensory certainty that religion is capable of giving and sustaining meaning in life surprised me. While doing fieldwork in India, seeing devotion in its myriad aspects cracked beyond repair the citadels of my ‘western’ perception. I was allowed a glimpse into what a world filled with transcendence could be. This has been an intellectual as well as an ontological experience. I felt that when contemplating the ‘religious’ unfold around me in its multiple dimensions I recognized and understood something essential. While I was used to see people turn to each other in times of need, the relationship to the divine which seemed to permeate Indian everyday reality was pragmatic, but also emotive and sensual. While I was used of going to church twice, maximum three times a year as a sort of obligation performed on otherwise dull free days, believers on this side of the planet were living their every moment in what seemed a neverending conversation with the transcendent. Owing to Mircea Eliade not only wonderful days enriched by his fantastic literature but also a first understanding of the history of religions, I was fascinated to see religion alive, practiced, believed in. I went to India as a traveller but returned as a pilgrim certain that the domain of what we call ‘religion’ is worth investigating, being passionate about, is worth the effort.

    My first degree have been in cultural anthropology, from which I inherited my love of ethnography based on participant observation and comparative literature studies which made me see how much can hide in between words. I studied them both at the Eotvos Lorand University Budapest. I further learned how to do and think about research in the social sciences at ISHSS University of Amsterdam. Here I understood how interdisciplinary research can bridge the limitations which are inherent in each branch of learning. I could use this knowledge extensively while affiliated to the Department of Sociology and the research cluster CIMIC at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Here I have completed my doctoral research on the role of religion in the construction of a collective Muslim identity in Rotterdam, Leicester and Marseille and after that, as a post-doctoral reseacher I have devoted my time to an European Integration Funds financed project, jointly working at the Department of Sociology and Public Administration at Erasmus University. As a Lecturer in Religion and Society at the Department of History, European Studies and Religious Studies my experience and passions come together beautifully in doing something that I really love.

    At present I am interested in the articulations of what counts as religious, especially in contrast or conjunction to what counts as political. Although this distinction makes most sense in Western European nation-states, it is certainly not confined to this geographical area. Using the words of Charles Taylor, the secular is by now part of the ‘social imaginary’ and as such it informs much of our understanding of what religion is and what its role can be. I see the religious and the political as dimensions in need of inquiry rather than given premises. With this my work contributes to what Talal Asad has called an anthropology of secularity.  I attempt to contextualize the concept of ‘religion’ and critically engage with its social construction and I am especially interested in what one can call 'minority religions'.



  • Publications


    • Ivanescu, C., & Groskamp, N. (in press). Making a home, keeping God close: the homemaker’s spiritual decisions as reflected in contemporary evangelical blogs. Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture.


    • Ivanescu, C. (2023). Making visible the invisible: Representing religious content in manga. Mediascapes, 22(2), 78-93. [details]
    • Ivanescu, C. (2023). Remembering the Christian martyrs of Japan. Manuscript submitted for publication. In Feestschrift JW Henten Brill.
    • Ivanescu, C. (2023). Tibetan collective identity and religious heritage. Manuscript in preparation. In I. Saloul, & B. Baillie (Eds.), The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Cultural Heritage and Conflict Palgrave Macmillan.







    • Ivanescu, C. (2007). Essays on Jaina Art. South Asia Research, 27.
    • Ivanescu, C. (2007). Lyn H. Lofland: A városi élet felfogása. A chicagói hagyomány. In Városantropológiai vázlatok és változatok MTA Politikai Tudományok Intézete.


    • Ivanescu, C. (2006). A tibeti buddhizmus kutatásáról. In Így kutatunk mi…’ antropológia terepmunka módszereihez IV Szimbiózis.


    • Ivanescu, C. (2020). Tibetan self-immolation between religious practice and political statement. In M. Barbato, C. Montgomery, & R. Nadadur Kannan (Eds.), Critical religion reader (pp. 50-55). Studio Dreamshare Press. [details]


    • Ivanescu, C. (2018). Cosmos, gods and madmen: frameworks in the anthropologies of medicine. Social Anthropology, 26(4), 587-588.
    • Ivanescu, C. (2018). [Review of: L. Berzano, O.P. Riis (2012) Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, Volume 3: New Methods in the Sociology of Religion]. Comparative Sociology, 17(5), 679-681. [details]


    • Ivanescu, C. (2017). Divine rulers in a secular state. Social Anthropology, 25(4).



    • Ivanescu, C. (2015). Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe in Past and Present Times. Comparative Sociology, 14(5).
    • Ivanescu, C. (2015). Lijiang stories. Social Anthropology, 23(1).
    • Ivanescu, C. (2015). Mediating and remediating death. Social Anthropology, 23(3).


    • Ivanescu, C. (2014). Beyond conversion and syncretism: indigenous encounters with missionary Christianity, 1800–2000. Social Anthropology, 22(1).
    • Ivanescu, C. (2014). Mediating the global. Expatria’s forms and consequences in Kathmandu. Social Anthropology, 22(4).
    • Ivanescu, C. (2014). Secularism, assimilation and the crisis of multiculturalism. Social Anthropology, 22(3).
    • Ivanescu, C. (2014). The future as a cultural fact. Social Anthropology, 22(2).
    • Ivanescu, C. (Author). (2014). Contextualizing yoga: modern practices in a western world. Web publication or website
    • Ivanescu, C. (Author). (2014). Spirit worship, Tibetan Buddhism and the West. Web publication or website


    • Ivanescu, C. (2013). Global Migration, Ethnicity and Britishness. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36(1).
    • Ivanescu, C. (2013). Localizing Islam in Europe: Turkish Islamic Communities in Germany and the Netherlands. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36(1).
    • Ivanescu, C. (2013). Sustaining faith traditions. Race, ethnicity, and religion among the Latino and Asian American second generation. Social Anthropology, 21(3).
    • Ivanescu, C. (Author). (2013). Tibetan self-immolation between religious practice and political statement. Web publication or website
    • Ivanescu, C., & Suvarierol, S. (2013). Country Case-Study on the Impacts of Restrictions and Entitlements on the Integration of Family Migrants: Working Paper on Qualitative Evidence. The Netherlands.
    • Ivanescu, C., & Suvarierol, S. (2013). Mapping the Conditions of Stay and Rationale for Entitlements and Restrictions in the Netherlands. IMPACIM working paper.
    • Ivanescu, C., & Suvarierol, S. (2013). Transnational Report: Mapping the Conditions of Stay and the Rationale for Entitlements and Restrictions for Family Migrants.
    • Ivanescu, C., Entzinger, H., Suvarierol, S., & Scholten, P. (2013). The Impacts of Restrictions and Entitlements on the Integration of Family Migrants: National Report. The Netherlands.


    • Ivanescu, C. (2012). Beyond Dutch borders. Social Anthropology, 20(1).
    • Ivanescu, C. (2012). Postsecular cities. Social Anthropology, 20(3).


    • Ivanescu, C. (2011). Citizenship, Identity And The Politics Of Multiculturalism: The Rise Of Muslim Consciousness. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34(2).
    • Ivanescu, C. (2011). Class, contention and a world in motion. Social Anthropology, 19(3).
    • Ivanescu, C. (2011). Religion, Class Coalitions, and Welfare States. Comparative Sociology, 10(4).


    • Ivanescu, C. (2010). Can Islam be French? Pluralism and pragmatism in a secularist state. Social Anthropology, 19(1).
    • Ivanescu, C. (2010). Churches and charity in the immigrant city: religion, immigration, and civic engagement in Miami. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 33(10).
    • Ivanescu, C. (2010). Muslims in western politics. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 33(5).
    • Ivanescu, C. (2010). Peripheral visions: publics, power, and performance in Yemen. Social Anthropology, 18(1).


    • Ivanescu, C. (2008). The Tibetan government-in-exile: politics at large. IIAS Newsletter .


    • Ivanescu, C. (2006). Khmer identity: a religious perspective. IIAS Newsletter, 40.


    • Ivanescu, C. (2016). [Review of: M. Eggert, L. Hölscher (2013) Religion and Secularity: Transformations and Transfers of Religious Discourses in Europe and Asia]. Comparative Sociology, 15(1), 144-145.

    Media appearance


    • Bekkenkamp, J. (participant), Ivanescu, C. (participant) & klaver, m. (participant) (23-6-2018 - 24-6-2018). heilige plekken wandeling, amsterdam. heilige plekken wandeling (organising a conference, workshop, ...).


    • Ivanescu, C. (2023). Interactive map religion in Amsterdam. Universiteit van Amsterdam.
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    No ancillary activities