Peter Pels (1958) is professor in the anthropology of sub-Saharan Africa at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology of Leiden University. In 1993 he graduated in social anthropology at the University of Amsterdam on a study of Catholicism in East Africa. Between 1995 and 2003 he worked at the Research Centre Religion and Society of the University of Amsterdam. He is a specialist in the study of religion and politics in situations of colonial contact, the history of anthropology, the anthropology of magic, and social science ethics. He was the editor-in-chief of Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale, the journal of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, between 2003 and 2007. He was advisor on religion and materiality to the Çatalhöyük archaeological project in Turkey. Currently, he is finishing a book entitled The Spirit of Matter. Religion, Modernity and the Power of Objects as well as an essay on the anthropology of the future.
- After Objectivity: An Historical Approach to the Intersubjective in Ethnography, HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory (Open Access) (2014; 4 (1))
- Using ‘Magic’ to Think from the Material: Tracing Distributed Agency, Revelation and Concealment at Çatalhöyük, in I. Hodder (ed.) Religion at Work in a Neolithic Society: Vital Matters. (2014)
- ‘Global’ experts and ‘African minds’: Tanganyika Anthropology as Public and Secret Service, in: Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (2011; 17 (4))
- What has Anthropology Learned from the Anthropology of Colonialism? in: Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale (2008; 16 (3))
- The Modern Fear of Matter: Reflections on the Protestantism of Victorian Science, in: Material Religion (2008; 4 (3))