University of Malta

Prof. Paul Sant Cassia
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I first got interested in Anthropology when studying Philosophy at the University of Malta. After graduating in Philosophy in Malta in 1976, I went to Cambridge, to do an MPhil and then a PhD (1981) under Professor Sir Jack Goody.  I conducted field research for my PhD in Cyprus shortly after the 1974 coup and subsequent Turkish invasion and concentrated on political instability, the use of covert force, political patronage, and matrimonial strategies. My research on Cyprus and Greece has spanned since 1977. In 1981 I was elected to a Research Fellowship at Christ’s College (1981-85) and interrupted this to conduct research in Australia for the Commonwealth Government on Migrant and Refugee Youth Unemployment, and in Tunisia where I studied property and marriage patterns. My first book  (with Constantina Bada) “The Making of the Modern Greek Family” (Cambridge University Press, 1992) looked at how new forms of family ethics emerged in 19th Century Athens.  In 1985 I was appointed to a Teaching-Curatorial post at Cambridge, where, apart from lecturing, I was responsible for the redesign of the Anthropology Displays and Galleries at the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology that were opened in 1990. In 1991 I moved to the Department of Anthropology at the University of Durham and came to Malta between 1992-94 set up the Anthropology Programme. On my return to Durham I was appointed Reader in Anthropology. I resigned my Durham post in 2009 to take up a Professorship at the University of Malta.  I have also conducted fieldwork in southern France in the town of Pezenas where I studied the way how the local elite viewed their “patrimoine” (heritage) in this town of Moliere. My interest in French culture extends to teaching there (Paris X, Nanterre and Aix-Provence) and on various French Commissions (eg  the Musee de la Mediterranee). This resulted in a jointly edited work (with Thierry Fabre): Between Europe and the Mediterranean. The Challenges and the Fears. (Palgrave, Macmillan, 2007). My last monographic book, “Bodies of Evidence” (Oxford :Berghahn, 2005), looks at the way the issue of Missing Persons whose bodies were never recovered was framed in Cypriot society. Currently I am exploring the works of the 16th Century French Painter, Nicolas Poussin, particularly in terms of narrative, deixis, and textuality. For the past 10 years I have edited the Journal, History and Anthropology published 4 times yearly by Taylor and Francis. My other published articles and book chapters have been on banditry, property transmissions and matrimonial strategies, art, psychoanalysis, and ethnomusicology, as well as Mediterranean anthropology. I am also currently working on crypto-faiths, conversion  and trans-imperial subjects in the historical Mediterranean .  

Click here for my Google Scholar Profile.



  • 'The Making of the Modern Greek Family: Marriage and Exchange in 19th Century Athens' (joint authorship with C. Bada). Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology. Cambridge University Press. 278pp. 1992. (Republished 1999)

  • Bodies of Evidence. Burial, Memory and the Recovery of Missing Persons in Cyprus. Oxford: Berghahn. 2005

Edited Books

  • Between Europe and the Mediterranean: The Challenges and the Fears (Paul Sant Cassia & Thierry Fabre, eds.) Palgrave: Macmillan, 2007

Editorship of Journals

  • 1991: Founded Journal of Mediterranean Studies  (ISSN 1016-3476), published twice yearly. Editor until 1998.

  • 2000 - Present: Appointed Editor of History and Anthropology, a journal published 4 times yearly by Routledge/Taylor and Francis. Joint Editor with Dr Steve Lyon, University of Durham, UK

Articles in referred journals or publications-Single authorship

  • 1982 'Property in Greek Cypriot Marriage Strategies, 1920-80', in Man (Dec 1982) No 17, pp 643-63.

  • 'The Politics of Marriage in a Greek Cypriot Village'. In Familles et leurs biens en Grece et a Chypre, ed C. Piault. (1982), pp.115-144, Paris: L'Harmattan.

  • 1983 'The Archbishop in the Beleagured City: An analysis of the Conflicting Roles and political oratory of Makarios'.  In Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1983 (Vol. 8). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

  • 'Patterns of Covert Politics in Cyprus'. European Journal of Sociology. (XXIV, 1983, pp. 115-135)

  • 1984 'Changes to the Significance of the House and Social Space in Cyprus'.In'La Vie Quotidienne a Chypre de l'antiquite a nos jours'. Musee de l'Homme. Published (1984). Musee de l'Homme, pp 175-186.

  • 'Alcune osservazioni sulla posizione della Donna in due societa Mediterranee'. In Published 1984 in Donna e Societa  nel mondo Mediterraneo (ed J. Vibaek), Quaderni del Circolo Semiologico Siciliano Vol 26-27, Palermo, pp 511-531.

  • 1986 'Religion, Politics and Ethnicity in Cyprus during the Turkocratia (1571-1878) In Archives Europeennes de Sociologie. 27 (1986), pp 3-28.

  • 1987 'Bloodmoney and Brideprice have no merit: Marriage and property in a S. Tunisian Village'. ln Cambridge Anthropology, 1987.

  • 'A Plea for Islands: The Social Anthropology of Islands in the Mediterranean'. Proceedings of the Second Euro-Arab University Conference, Malta ( 1987), pp 6-13.

  • 1989 'Ghana: Between Folklore and Concealment'. Paper presented to a Conference in Malta. Published (in Maltese) in L'Identita Culturali ta Malta, ed T. Cortis (1989). Malta: Government Press, pp67-81

  • 1991 'Authors in Search of a Character: Personhood, Agency and Identity in the Mediterranean'. Paper presented to Departmental Research Seminars at Cambridge, Oxford, and Durham. Published in Journal of Mediterranean Studies, Vol 1 No 1, (1991) pp 1-17.

  • 'Museologia or Musesophia?', in Archaeological Review from Cambridge, Vol 9, No 2 (1991) : pp.218-225.

  • 1992 'Ways of Displaying' Museums Journal, London, January 1992, pp. 28-31.

  • 1993 Banditry, Myth and Terror in Cyprus and other Mediterranean Societies', In Comparative Studies in Society and History (1993) pp773-795

  • Social brigandage in Cyprus in the latter 19th century (Translated from English into  Greek) (I kinoniki listeia stin Kypro ton istero 19 aiona), in Anthropologia ke Parelthon (Anthropology and the Past) ed  E. Papataxiarhis and Th. Paradellis. 79-112 Athens: Alexandreia.(1993)  ISBN 960-221-052-4. Pp.79-112

  • 'History, Anthropology and Folklore in Malta, Journal of Mediterranean Studies, Vol 3 No 2, (1993) 291-315
  • 'The Discovery of Malta: Nature, Culture and Ethnicity in 19th century Painting'. Journal of Mediterranean Studies, Vol 3 No 2,(1993) 354-377

  • 1994 Gamilia Politikhe. Stratigikes chriseis tis prikas s'ena elliniko horio.(Matrimonial politics. Strategic uses of the dowry in a Greek Cypriot village). In C. Piault (ed): Family and Property in Greece and Cyprus (in Greek). Athens:Estias. Pp. 131-168 (1994)

  • Copy available for scrutiny in English.

  • 1995 Banditry in Cyprus. In Anatomy of Change. Cyprus after 1974). ed. N. Peristianis  & G. Tsangaras. Cyprus. Intercollege Press. 1995. ISBN:9963-7982-1-7.

  • 1996 Revitalizing European Rituals. Review Article. Journal of Mediterranean Studies, (1996) Vol. 6 No 1: 182-187

  • 1998 "Berlin", Cyprus: photography, simulation and the directed gaze in a divided city. Cambridge Papers in Modern Greek No 6: 81-110  (1998) (29pp)

  • Vol, confiance et valeur (Theft, Trust, and Value). In Vols et sanctions en Mediterranee, ed Maria Pia Di Bella. Amsterdam: Editions d'archives contemporaines, pp151-198.(1998)  (47pp)

  • A Note on the EteoCypriots. Commentary on Given. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology  11 .1 (1988) 123-124 (2pp)

  • 1999 Tourism, Tradition and Memory in Malta. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.  Vol 5 No 2 (1999) pp. 247-263

  • Martyrdom and Witnessing(Martyria). Narratives of Violence and Memory in Cyprus. Terrorism and Political Violence. Vol 11, No 1 (1999), pp 22-54

  • Pricking the Conceits of Power. (Ghana) Maltese Folk Singing, Tradition, and Nostalgia. Introduction to: Ghana. An Annotated Bibliography, compiled by Anita Ragonesi. Malta: Mediterranean Institute.

  • The Evolution of the Family and Marriage in Modern Greece. Book chapter, In Greek American Families: Traditions and Transformation. (ed) S. Tsemberis, H. Psomiades, A. Karpathakis. NY.: Pella Press. ISBN 0-918618-76-2. 1999. pp57-94

  • Piercing Transfigurations: Representations of Suffering in Cyprus. Visual Anthropology, Vol 13, pp23-46 (1999)

  • Missing Persons in Cyprus as Ethnomartyres. Modern Greek Studies Yearbook., Vol 14/15, 1988/1999 , pp 261-284
  • 2000 Statist Imperatives and Ethical Dilemmas in the Representation of Missing Persons in Cyprus. Book Chapter for a collective volume entitled Morals of Legitimacy Between Agency and System edited by Italo Pardo. Berghahn  Books (Oxford) (2000), pp. 127-156

  • Exoticizing Discoveries and Extraordinary Experiences.  'Traditional' Music, Modermity and Nostalgia in Malta and other Mediterranean Societies. Ethnomusicology  Vol 44 No 2 pp. 281-301 ( Spring/Summer 2000).

  • "Better Occasional Murders than Frequent Adulteries". Discourses on Banditry, Violence and Sacrifice in the Mediterranean. History and Anthropology  (2000) Vol 1 No 1, pp. 63-99  ISSN: 0275-7206

  • Banditry  entry. Commissioned entry for Encyclopedia of European Social History. Scribner (New York). 2000.

  • 2001 'Waiting for Ulysses.  The Committee for Missing Persons'. In Promoting Peace and Development: Reviewing Five Decades of UN Involvement in Cyprus  (ed.) Oliver  Richmond & J. Ker-Lindsay.  St. Martin’s Press (Palgrave)  2001, p. p193-235. ISBN: 0-333-91271-3

  • Absences and Losses: Psychoanalysis, Anthropology and the cultural construction of Emotions. AJEC.  (Anthropological Journal on European Cultures), Vol. 10, 2001, pp. 143-163.  Frankfurt. ISSN: 0960-0604; ISBN: 3-8258-6114-7

  • 2003 Review Article.  Navigating an Anthropology of the Mediterranean: Recent Developments in France.  History and Anthropology, 2003 Vol. 14 (1), 87-94

  • 2004 “The Banality of Modern Traditions” Popular Music, Folklore, and Tradition in the Mediterranean. Relances des Traditions, ed C. Bromberger. (Aix) ( 2004)

  • 2005 Art, Emotion and Expression, In: Kay Milton and Maruska Svasek (eds): Mixed Emotions. Anthropological Studies of Feeling, (2005), pp. 109-126.  Oxford:  Berg Publishers

  • (With Isabel Schafer): Mediterranean Conundrums. :  Pluridisciplinary Perspectives for Research in the Social Sciences. (pp. 1-24). History and Anthropology.  (2005)
    Vol 16 No 1.

  • (with Thierry Fabre): Introduction, to Les Defis et les Peurs. Entre Europe et la Mediterranee. Actes Sud/MMSH.

  • 2006 “Better Occasional Murders, than Frequent  Adulteries”.: Discourses on Banditry, Violence and Sacrifice in the Mediterranean. In F. Coronil and J. Skurski (eds): States of Violence.  The Comparative Studies in Society and History Book Series. Michigan:  University of Michigan Press. (2006)

  • Guarding Each Other’s Dead; Mourning own’s Own. The problem of Missing Persons and Missing Pasts in Cyprus. South European Society and Politics. Vol 11 No 1 March 2006. (pp. 111-128)
  • Recognition and Emotion. Exhumations of Missing Persons in Cyprus. In: Divided Cyprus: Modernity and an Island in Conflict. Edited by Y. Papadakis, N. Peristianis, & G. Welz. Indiana University Press. (due 2006)

  • (and Constantina Bada, co-author): The Making of the Modern Greek Family. Cambridge: University Press. (reissued as a paperback by CUP)

  • 2007. Guarding Each Other’s Dead, Mourning One’s Own: The Problem of Missing Persons and Missing Pasts in Cyprus’. In When Greeks Think About Turks, ed Dimitrios Theodossopolous. Routledge: London  and New York (originally published in the journal South European Society and Politics and reissued/republished as a book)

  • 2008 (Joint author with C. Cassar): 'Patrolling society's borders: slavery, apostasy and the Inquisition'. In: Sacra Militia, The Foundation for the Study of the Military and Naval History of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, no.6 (2008), pp.55-62. 2009

  • 2009 The Unbearable Paradises of milieux de memoire. Review Article of Peter Loizos: Iron in the Soul. Displacement, Livelihood and Health in Cyprus. Oxford: Berghahn Books. (2008). History and Anthropology Vol. 20 No 4

Anthropoligical Films

  • 1988:  'A Festa for San Gabriel'. A 55 minute  video film dealing with the preparation for a village  festa in Malta, and its celebration. Produced and filmed with Gregory Barrow. Cambridge: Department of Social Anthropology, and Audio-Visual Aids Unit, Cambridge.

  • 1988: 'Guardate questi beni: Threatened Heritage'. An 8 minute video film dealing with the threats to old aristocratic houses in Malta. Produced and filmed with Gregory Barrow Cambridge: Department of Social Anthropology, and Audio-Visual Aids Unit, Cambridge.
  • 2003:  Dead, Presumed Missing? A film on Missing Persons in Cyprus. Paul Sant Cassia and Colette Piault. Paris. Les Films du Quotidien.  40 mins.

Web Links

Anthroplogy Study-Exchanges in the EU
The Department of Anthropological Sciences has a number of active Erasmus links to various Anthropology Departments in the EU (see list below).  This results in a two-way exchange. We have hosted students from various universities who normally spend one term/semester with us. This enhances student-learning experiences.  University of Malta students of Anthropology can also take advantage of these exchange links to pursue their studies abroad.
Last Updated: 6 November 2017

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