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Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme


Episode 4: Religion as Moral Infrastructure in Rio de Janeiro: a podcast with Dr Tilmann Heil


In this opening episode of our new miniseries on Living with Religious Difference, the guest is Dr Tilmann Heil who talks about his research with Muslim Senegalese migrants in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We consider how religion may function as a moral infrastructure that allows navigating a world where different communities, beliefs, and convictions meet. Tilmann outlines how his interlocutors position themselves within their new lifeworlds and how religion becomes a key resource for negotiating, taming, and accommodating societal difference.




About Tilmann Heil

Tilmann Heil is a Postdoctoral Investigator at Maria Sybilla Merian Centre Conviviality-Inequality in Latin America - Mecila - and Principal Investigator at the Global South Studies Center at University of Cologne. In his current ethnographic research with West African and Southern European migrants in Rio de Janeiro, he inquires into how migrant newcomers value and evaluate difference within complex urban assemblages characterized by intersectional hierarchies and deep inequality. In his ethnography Comparing Conviviality. Living with Difference in Casamance and Catalonia (Palgrave, 2020) that derives from earlier work in Senegal and Spain, he has conceptualized conviviality as a process of interaction, negotiation, and translation from which forms of minimal and fragile sociality emerge. Across various spaces bordering the Atlantic, Tilmann has continuously addressed ethical reflections on, and habitual tactics of, everyday struggles with ethnic, religious, and racial plurality.


Episode 4: References

  • Heil, Tilmann. 2019. “Muslim - Queer Encounters in Rio De Janeiro: Making Sense of Relative Positionalities.” Ethnography, no. online first: 1-20. doi:10.1177/1466138119859601.
  • Diouf, Mamadou. 2000. “The Senegalese Murid Trade Diaspora and the Making of a Vernacular Cosmopolitanism.” Public Culture 12 (3): 679-702.
  • Puar, Jasbir K. 2007. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Next wave. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Haritaworn, Jin, Adi Kuntsman, and Silvia Posocco, eds. 2014. Queer Necropolitics. London: Routledge.
  • Kane, Ousmane O. 2011. The Homeland Is the Arena. Religion, Transnationalism, and the Integration of Senegalese Immigrants in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



Episode 4: Music

Sneak by A.A. Alto; Kiss And Tell (breezy bossa nova) by Keshco.


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