CECI n'est pas EXECUTE Mathieu Claveyrolas

Mathieu Claveyrolas

Research Fellow
Habilité à diriger des recherches
Field(s): Ethnology / Social Anthropology
Institutional affiliation(s): CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research)

Professional contact information




I hold a Ph.D. in ethnology from the Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre. I am interested in understanding religiosity from the point of view of the faithful by focusing on their devotional practices. My research started out centering on the Hindu temple of Sankat Mochan, dedicated to the monkey-god Hanuman in Banaras (North India).

I am working on an extensive conception of religiosity. Everything that happens in the temple—from ritual acts properly speaking (centered on the main shrine) to family picnics (in the courtyards)—is part of religiosity for the devotees. Furthermore, the power of the temple and its god depends, among other things, on the crowds of visitors, whatever the rites that are actually performed. From this perspective, the everyday activities that take place in the temple constitute evidence that believers are no longer passive consumers of a sacredness that would exist even without them; these everyday activities illustrate how the devotees participate in producing the sacred and the efficacy of the divine.

The book based on my dissertation, entitled Quand le temple prend vie. Atmosphère et dévotion à Bénarès, is published by Éditions du CNRS, in their “monde indien / sciences sociales, 15è – 20è siècle” series (2003).

I continued my research in Banaras, extending my focus to other 'religion and territory' matters (territory of pilgrimage–2010, the Bharat Mata temple–2008).

Since 2008, I have been interested in Hinduism beyond the borders of India, through the lens of a new long-term field study: Mauritius. What is at stake for me there is the study of Hindu religious practices (the majority of the population being Hindu) in the Mauritian context (history of indenture and of plantation society; creolization of Hinduism; reinvention of links with India) on the basis of an ethnography of sacred places and practices, as well as of individual life stories. The overall ambition is to go beyond the examination of resilient aspects, borrowings or evolutions found in Hinduism in non-Indian contexts, and instead study the religious practices in Mauritius as a singular and coherent configuration of Hinduism, valid in and of itself.

In this context, I studied various subjects such as heritagization processes (2012), castes in Mauritius (2013-2015), the construction of religious authority (2014) and the territories (2016) of Mauritian hinduism. 

The book based on this work, entitled Quand l'hindouisme est créole. Indianité et plantation à l'île Maurice is published by Éditions de l'EHESS, in their "Cahiers de l'homme" series (2017).


Research teams


2014-2018 | Co-coordinator with Pierre-Yves Trouillet of the group “Hindus and Others in South Asia and Overseas”

2014-2018 | Member of the group “Religious Plurality and Reflexivity in South Asia”

2010-2013 | Co-coordinator with Rémy Delage of the group “Religion and Territory in South Asia: Religious Circulations, Networks and Scales”

2010-2013 | Member of the group “À la frontière, autour et au-delà”


Key words






Sacred places


Life story


Selected bibliography 


A selection of publications is available at: https://cnrs-gif.academia.edu/ClaveyrolasMathieu


2017 | Quand l’hindouisme est créole. Plantation et indianité à l’île Maurice. Paris, éditions de l’EHESS, ‘Cahiers de l’Homme’ series.

2016 | with Rémy Delage, eds.,Territoires du Religieux dans les mondes indiens. Parcourir. Mettre en scène. Franchir, Paris, éditions de l’EHESS, Purusartha series No. 34.

2003 | Quand le temple prend vie. Atmosphère et dévotion à Bénarès, CNRS Éditions, “monde indien / sciences sociales 15è-21è siècle” series, Paris, 416 pages, 16 color photos, 35 black and white, glossary, authors index and themes index.


Articles and book chapters

2017 | “Indo-Mauritians and the Indian Ocean. Literacy Accounts and Anthropological Readings” in C. Bouchard & S. Osman, eds., “Indian Ocean Islands: Environment, Ocean, Geopolitics,” Journal of the Indian Ocean Region. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19480881.2017.1326708

2016 | (with Rémy Delage), « Introduction » in M. Claveyrolas & R. Delage, eds., Territoires du Religieux dans les mondes indiens. Parcourir. Mettre en scène. Franchir, Paris, éditions de l’EHESS, Purusartha series No. 34, pp. 11-43.

2016 | « Les territoires de l’hindouisme mauricien : l’Inde, la mer, la plantation et la nation » in M. Claveyrolas & R. Delage, eds., Territoires du Religieux dans les mondes indiens. Parcourir. Mettre en scène. Franchir, Paris : éditions de l’EHESS, Purusartha series, No. 34, pp. 99-121.

2016 | « The Amazement of the Ethnographer: Hindu Pilgrimage beyond sacred and profane » in D. ALbera & J. Eade, eds., New Pathways in Pilgrimage Studies. Global Perspectives, New York, Routledge Studies in Pilgrimage, Religious Travel and Tourism, pp. 36-52.

2015 | "The 'Land of the Vaish'? Caste, Structure and Ideology in Mauritius," Samaj, http://samaj.revues.org/3886.

2015 | “L’île Maurice : migrations, patrimoines et communalisme” in M. Amar, Y. Frenette, M. Lanouette & M. Pâquet, eds., Musées, Histoire, Migrations, Québec, Presses de l’Université Laval, pp. 201-220

2014 | “Un prêtre tamoul dans le chantier de l’hindouisme mauricien” in C. Servan-Schreiber, ed., Indianité et créolité à l’île Maurice, Paris, éditions de l’EHESS, Purusartha series No. 32, pp. 11-39.

2014 | “L'histoire d'un conteneur: transit et identité mauricienne À propos de Amal Sewtohul, Made in Mauritius” in C. Servan-Schreiber, ed., Indianité et créolité à l’île Maurice, Paris, éditions de l’EHESS, Purusartha series n°32.

2014 | “The Orthodox Banaras or the Purification of Hinduism” in I. Keul, ed., Banaras Revisited: Scholarly Pilgrimages to the City of Light, Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz Verlag / ethno-indology series, pp. 63-76.

2013 | “Au ‘pays des Vaish’ ? Structure et idéologie de caste à l’île Maurice,” Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions, No. 163, pp. 191-216.

2013 | “L’hindouisme mauricien, une histoire de ‘passages’” in I. Hidair & L. Pourchez, eds., Rites de passages et constructions identitaires créoles, Paris, Éditions des archives contemporaines, pp. 29-40.

2012 | “With or without roots: the compared and conflicting memories of slavery and indenture in the Mauritian public space” in A-L. Araujo, ed., Politics of Memory: Making Slavery Visible in the Public Space, New York, Routledge, pp. 54-70.

2010 | “Construire un espace à part. Circulations rituelles et territoires sacrés à Bénarès” in V. Dupont & F. Landy, eds., “Circulation et territoire dans le monde indien contemporain,” éditions de l’EHESS, Purusartha series No. 28, Paris, pp. 41-71.

2010 | “L’histoire de vie d’un informateur exceptionnel: enjeux méthodologiques et enjeux locaux” in G. D’Agostino, M. Kilani and S. Montes, eds., Histoires de vie, témoignages, autobiographies de terrain. Formes d’énonciation et de textualisation, Freiburger Sozialanthropologische Studien Verlag, pp.143-156.

2010 | “L’ancrage de l’hindouisme dans le paysage mauricien : transfert et appropriation” in S. Bava & S. Capone, eds., Migrations et transformations des paysages religieux, Autrepart No. 56, 2010/4.

2008 | “Les temples de Mère Inde, musées de la nation,” Gradhiva, No. 7.

2006 | “Le musée d’un lieu saint en chantier. L’église de la Sagrada Família entre archives et achèvement virtuel,” Gradhiva, No. 4, pp.70-83.

2006 | “Mythes et rites indiens,” in Le guide du musée, éditions du Musée du quai Branly, pp.138-139.

2006 | “Peinture de Yama, Santal Pargana,” Chefs-d’œuvre dans les collections du musée du quai Branly, édition du Musée du quai Branly, pp.76-77

2006 | “Le tissu cérémoniel indien” in collaboration with Claire Beugnot and Françoise Cousin, Technè, La revue du Centre de recherche des musées de France No. 23.


Last update: 26 September, 2017


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