Irene Stengs is senior researcher at the Meertens Institute (KNAW) and, since 2017, professor by special appointment “Anthropology of Ritual and Popular Culture” at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. She received her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Amsterdam, with a thesis on the veneration for the monarchy in present-day Thailand (published as Worshipping the Great Modernizer. King Chulalongkorn, Patron-Saint of the Thai Middle Class, 2009 Singapore). Her research in the Netherlands and Thailand focuses on popular religiosity, material culture, commemorative ritual and processes of heritage formation. Recent publications include ‘Gepopulariseerde cultuur, ritueel and het maken van erfgoed’ (Popularized Culture, Ritual and the Making of Heritage) Sociologie 2019 15(2); The Secular Sacred. Emotions of Belonging and the Perils of Religion and Nationalism (Palgrave, 2020 edited with Ernst van den Hemel and Markus Balkenhol).
As part of the HERILIGION project Irene is interested in the question what the transformations of religion and heritage tell us about our time, in Europe and beyond? With the ‘The Dutch Passion for the Passion’ project she empirically investigates the role of popular culture, ritual and emotions in present-day claims on heritage and religion in the Netherlands.