Francesco Piraino


I am a socio-anthropologist of religion and culture who works on Islam, Sufism, Christianity, and alternative and marginalised spiritualities. I study Sufism in Europe and North Africa, LGBTQ and feminist religious movements in Islamic and Catholic contexts, and conspiracy theories, religion, and extreme right movements in Europe. I also explore how religious and cultural heritage is constructed and contested, especially as a political instrument.

I have a Bachelor's Degree in philosophy at Ca' Foscari University of Venice and a Master's Degree in sociology at Padua University. I have a PhD in sociology from Scuola Normale Superiore (Firenze) in co-tutorship with Écoles des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris) with a thesis on European Sufism. I was a Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow at the Centre for Sociological Research (CeSO) at KU Leuven (Belgium). After that I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institut d’ethnologie méditerranéenne, européenne et comparative, CNRS Aix-en-Provence.

I currently work at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School. Furthermore, since 2017 I direct the Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilisations and Spiritualities at the Giorgio Cini Foundation

I'm also interested in photography, illustration, comics, and graphic novels, as instruments for disseminating research and intellectual work, but also as "heterographies", allowing new perspectives and enhancing our "moral imagination". Starting from this exploration was created the Invisible Lines.