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Core Research Network Members

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Andriy Fert ( is a PhD candidate in history at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Ukraine. He is currently at work on his dissertation dedicated to state control of Orthodox Christian communities in the 1970s-1980s in Kyiv. He studies the interplay between religion and nationalism, secular martyrs, and the role of Churches in memory politics. His publications include “Equivocal Memory: What does the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate Remember?” in Religion During the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict (2020) and "‘How could we possibly forget this?’: Ukrainian Orthodox Churches and the Soviet Past during the War" (forthcoming in 2022). Andriy also coordinates several educational projects for secondary school history teachers at the Ukrainian office of the Institute for International Cooperation of the Deutscher Volkshochschul Verband.




Tetiana Kalenychenko ( Ph. D. in Sociology of Religion. Her thesis was entitled, “Religious component in Socio-Political Conflict in modern Ukraine”. She was a Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of Human Science in Vienna, Austria (February – July 2017).


Tetiana is currently working in the field of Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding as national adviser for Peaceful Change Initiative (London), dialogue facilitator and mediator for Institute for Peace and Common Ground (Kyiv), as a trainer together with USAID and IREX in Do No Harm methodology (project analysis and reconciliation, Mirovna Academia – Peace Academy in Sarajevo, Bosnia), Conflict theory and facilitation on the level of communities. Worked as journalist in Religious-Informational Service of Ukraine. Main interests: sociology of religion, conflict studies, peacebuilding and reconciliation.




Oleg Kyselov ( is a senior research scientist at the H.S. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy of Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences. He received his PhD in religious studies from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. He is the author of the book Феномен екуменізму в сучасному християнстві (Phenomenon of Ecumenism in Modern Christianity, 2009). He was one of the founders of the Ukraine’s NGO Workshop for the Academic Study of Religions (till 2018 – Youth Association for the Study of Religions) in 2004 and member of its Executive Committee (2006–2011), Vice-President (2011–2013), and President (2013–2015). He is the editor-in-chief of the annual journal Релігієзнавчі нариси (Essays on Religious Studies). He is a member of the Organizational Committee of the International Conferences on Religion in Minsk (Belarus).


He is currently writing his doctoral thesis on scientific atheism in Soviet Ukraine. His main interests include sociology of religion, interfaith relations, and history of religious studies.



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Alexander Panchenko,

Professor, European University at St. Petersburg, Director of the Research Center for Literary Theory at the Institute of Russian Literature, Russian Academy of Sciences



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Catherine Wanner ( is Professor of History, Anthropology, and Religious Studies at The Pennsylvania State University. She received her doctorate in cultural anthropology from Columbia University. Her forthcoming book, Everyday Religiosity and the Politics of Belonging In Ukraine, analyzes the politics of religion in public space and secular institutions since the Maidan protests in 2014. She is the author or editor of five other books on religion in Ukraine and editor of three collections of essays on religion and resistance during the Maidan protests.


Her research has been supported by awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council among others. In 2016-17 she was a visiting professor at the Institute of European Ethnology of Humboldt University and in 2019-20 she was a Fulbright Scholar at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine. She was awarded the 2020 Distinguished Scholar Prize from the Association for the Study of Eastern Christianity. She is the founder and convener of the Working Group on Religion in the Black Sea Region.




Tatiana Vagramenko is Senior Postdoctoral Researcher at University College Cork and Principal Investigator in the SFI-IRC Pathway-funded project “History Declassified: The KGB and the Religious Underground in Soviet Ukraine”. She has held postdoctoral appointments at University of Barcelona in Spain, Imre Kertesz Kolleg, Friedrich Schiller University in Germany, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC where she served as a Fellow at the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies. In 2017-2019, she was Principal Investigator in the project “Religious Minorities in Ukraine from the Soviet Underground to the Euromaidan: Pathways to Religious Freedom and Pluralism in Enlarging Europe”, funded by the Irish Research Council. She received her PhD in Anthropology from Maynooth University in 2014. Vagramenko’s research is focused on the history and memory of state repression and cultural opposition in Soviet Ukraine, based on in-depth reconsideration of recently opened Soviet-era secret police (former KGB) archives.




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Alexander‌ ‌Agadjanian‌,(‌‌ ‌‌Professor,‌ ‌Center‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌Study‌ ‌of‌ ‌Religion,‌ ‌Russian‌ ‌State‌ ‌University‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Humanities, ‌‌was‌ ‌born‌ ‌in‌ ‌Moscow,‌ ‌graduated‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌Moscow‌ ‌State‌ ‌University,‌ ‌received‌ ‌doctoral‌ ‌degree‌ ‌in‌ ‌modern‌ ‌history‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌Institute‌ ‌of‌ ‌Oriental‌ ‌Studies,‌ ‌Russian‌ ‌Academy‌ ‌of‌ ‌Sciences,‌ ‌Moscow.‌ ‌He‌ ‌taught‌ ‌in ‌the‌ ‌religious‌ ‌studies‌ ‌department,‌ ‌Arizona‌ ‌State‌ ‌University,‌ ‌and‌ ‌since‌ ‌2003‌ ‌is‌ ‌Professor‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌Center‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌Study‌ ‌of‌ ‌Religion,‌ ‌Russian‌ ‌State‌ ‌University‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ Humanities,‌ ‌Moscow.‌ ‌He‌ ‌also‌ ‌teaches‌ ‌history‌ ‌and‌ ‌sociology‌ ‌of‌ ‌religion‌ ‌in‌ ‌other‌ ‌Moscow‌ ‌universities.‌ ‌Currently,‌ ‌his ‌main‌ ‌area‌ ‌of‌ ‌interests‌ ‌and‌ ‌research‌ ‌is‌ ‌religious‌ ‌developments‌ ‌in‌ ‌post-Soviet‌ ‌Russia‌ ‌and‌ ‌Eurasia.‌ ‌He‌ ‌is‌ ‌co-editor‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Russian‌ ‌language‌ ‌academic‌ ‌quarterly‌ ‌‘State,‌ ‌Religion‌ ‌and‌ ‌Church‌ ‌in‌ ‌Russia‌ ‌and‌ ‌Worldwide,’‌ ‌and‌ ‌is‌ ‌on‌ ‌editorial‌ ‌boards‌ ‌of‌ ‌ ‌several ‌peer-reviewed‌ ‌journals.‌ ‌



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Denis Brylov ( is associate professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, National Pedagogical Dragomanov University (Kyiv, Ukraine). Brylov received his PhD degree in Religious Studies from Taras Shevchenko University (Kyiv). His main academic interests are Islam and Islamic education in Ukraine, political activism in Sufism and transnational Sufi movements, religious factors in conflicts, and religion and nationalism. Brylov has authored some 70 publications in Russian, Ukrainian, Danish, Polish, German, and English. He is the co-editor of the volume Sufism and the Islamic Spiritual Tradition: Texts, Institutions, Ideas, and Interpretations (2015). He is currently a member of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine’s commission on the state recognition of higher theological education diplomas, academic degrees, and titles issued by higher theological educational institutions.



Research Network Members


Julia Buyskykh ( ‌is‌ ‌an‌ ‌anthropologist‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌background‌ ‌in‌ ‌history.‌ ‌She‌ ‌‌received‌ ‌her‌ ‌Ph.D.‌ ‌in‌ ‌Ethnology‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌History‌ ‌Department‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌Taras‌ ‌Shevchenko‌ ‌National‌ ‌University‌ ‌of‌ ‌Kyiv,‌ ‌Ukraine.‌ ‌In‌ ‌2014-2015‌ ‌she‌ ‌participated‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Polish‌ ‌Government‌ ‌Scholarship‌ ‌Program‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌Centre‌ ‌for‌ ‌East‌ ‌European‌ ‌Studies‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌Department‌ ‌of‌ ‌Ethnology‌ ‌and‌ ‌Cultural‌ ‌Anthropology,‌ ‌University‌ ‌of‌ ‌Warsaw.‌ ‌In‌ ‌2015-2016‌ ‌she‌ ‌was‌ ‌a‌ ‌research‌ ‌fellow‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌University‌ ‌of‌ ‌Warsaw‌ ‌through‌ ‌the‌ ‌V4EaP‌ ‌Scholarship‌ ‌Program‌ ‌from‌ ‌Visegrad‌ ‌Fund.‌ ‌She‌ ‌conducted‌ ‌field‌ ‌research‌ ‌in‌ ‌Poland‌ ‌in‌ ‌2015-2018,‌ ‌focusing‌ ‌on‌ ‌religious‌ ‌culture‌ ‌in‌ ‌borderlands‌ ‌localities.‌ ‌From‌ ‌October‌ ‌2017‌ ‌to‌ ‌January‌ ‌2018‌ ‌she‌ ‌was‌ ‌a‌ ‌visiting‌ ‌fellow‌ ‌in‌ ‌Forum‌ ‌Transregionale‌ ‌Studien,‌ ‌Berlin.‌




Zuzanna Bogumił ( is a sociologist and cultural anthropologist, at the Institute of Archeology and Ethnology, Polish Academy of Sciences. She specializes in memory studies, museum studies and anthropology of religion. For last few years Bogumił worked on the religious memory of Soviet repressions in Russia and coordinated the project sponsored by the Polish National Science Centre, “From Enemy to Martyr.” Since October 2021 she runs a new project sponsored by the Polish National Science Centre entitled, “Remembering Soviet repressions in the post-multiple colonial Russian Far East.” Its goal is to analyze how the experience of multiple colonialisms, including religious and cultural colonization of the Russian Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church, affects the shape and texture of the Soviet repressions in selected regions of the RFE.


Bogumił is an author, co-author or co-editor of several books: Gulag Memories: The Rediscovery and Commemoration of Russia's Repressive Past (Berghan Books 2018), Milieux de mémoire in Late Modernity. Local Communities, Religion and Historical Politics (Peter Lang 2019). Memory and Religion from a Postsecular Perspective (Routledge 2022). Her articles have appeared in Europa-Asia Studies, Religion, State and Society, East European Politics and Societies.



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Melissa L. Caldwell ( is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the founder of the UCSC Design Anthropology Fab Lab, and past editor of Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies.


A fieldworking ethnographer, her research examines how and why people help one another, the forms that this assistance takes, and the political dimensions of assistance. She is especially interested in understanding the ways in which ordinary people transform compassion into modes of social activism and civic engagement that intervene in pressing social and political issues. She has been conducting ethnographic research in Russia and postsocialist Europe since the early 1990s, and has recently begun research in Hong Kong and the United States.


She has researched and written on such topics as food poverty, informal social support networks, and transnational food relief programs in Russia; faith-based social welfare programs in Russia; the emergence of Russia’s religious communities as leading civil rights actors to address problems such as poverty, racial discrimination and violence, and gender inequalities; the moralities of food cultures and food relief programs; and the social justice dimensions of hacking and disruptive creative technologies, especially among food hackers and DIYers.

Melissa L.



Bruce Grant ( is Professor and Chair of Anthropology at New York University. A specialist on cultural politics in the former Soviet Union, he has done fieldwork in Siberia and the Caucasus. He is author of In the Soviet House of Culture: A Century of Perestroikas (Princeton 1995), a study of the Sovietization of an indigenous people on the Russian Pacific coast, and The Captive and the Gift: Cultural Histories of Sovereignty in Russia and the Caucasus (Cornell 2009), on the making of the Caucasus in the Russian popular imagination.



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Tsypylma Darieva is a social anthropologist and, since October 2017, a senior researcher at ZOiS, where she coordinates the research cluster Migration and Diversity. She is an associate member of the Caucasus Studies Programme at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and was a member of CISR. E.V directors board (Berlin Centre for Independent Social Research). Tsypylma Darieva received her doctorate in Anthropology and her German academic degree as Dr. phil. Habil. (German professorial exam) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Before joining ZOiS, Darieva was Associate Professor for Anthropology at Tsukuba University (Japan), a postdoctoral researcher at Humboldt University Berlin and at Max-Planck-Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle.


She is currently preparing her book Homeland Pilgrimage. Roots and Routes of Transnational Engagement for publication and co-editing a special issue on urban religious diversity in the South Caucasus and Central Asia. She is a co-founder of the ZOiS Caucasus Network.



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Ketevan Gurchiani is a full professor in anthropology at Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia. Her special interest has been religiosity in everyday life, lived space, and urban space as an assemblage. K. Gurchiani has been a recipient of numerous research grants and awards from Georgian, German, and US-based foundations. She has been visiting scholar at UCLA, Columbia University, and NYU. Ketevan Gurchiani is leading the project (2020-2023): “Tbilisi as an Urban Assemblage” (funded by Rustaveli National Scientific Foundation). Since 2021 Ketevan Gurchiani is involved in the project “An Anthropology of Gardens “Otherwise and Elsewhere” (funded by The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada). Ketevan Gurchiani is also a researcher in the project "Surrogacy as Networked Phenomenon: the study of key actors and their interrelations" (2020-2023). In 2015–2018, she was head of the project: “Religiosity among young Georgians".


Latest publication:

Gurchiani, Ketevan. “Women and the Georgian Orthodox Church.” In Women and Religiosity in Orthodox Christianity, edited by Ina Merdjanova, 1st ed., 101–28. Fordham University Press, 2021.




Agnieszka Halemba (  is a social anthropologist currently working at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences and teaching at the University of Potsdam in Germany. She focuses on the anthropology of religion, with long-term field research conducted in southern Siberia and Transcarpathian Ukraine. Since 2016, she conducts research on the significance of religious architecture in secular contexts based on fieldwork in North-Eastern Germany. She is also a head of the Anthropology Undisciplined Research Unit, which focuses on development of innovative methodologies for interdisciplinary research and an author of two ethnography-based monographs: Negotiating Marian Apparitions: The Politics of Religion in Transcarpathian Ukraine (Central European University Press 2015) and The Telengits of Southern Siberia: Landscape, Religion and Knowledge in Motion (Routledge 2006).



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Jeanne Kormina ( is a professor of anthropology and religious studies at the Higher School of Economics (St. Petersburg, Russia). Her publications include the book Pilgrims. Ethnographies of Orthodox Nomadism(in Russian), two edited volumes and two special issues as well as chapters and articles on Orthodox pilgrimage in Russia, social memory, veneration of saints and other related topics.




Alla Marchenko ( is a sociologist, researcher, and university lecturer. She graduated from Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University majoring in “Sociology” (Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees) followed by post-graduate studies. Her Master’s and post-graduate theses were on the concept of ‘social prestige’ in social science. She worked as a researcher at the Ukrainian Institute of Scientific and Technical Information (УкрІНТЕІ) and the “Fund for Municipal Development” NGO. From 2009 to 2017, she lectured at the Department of Methodology and Methods of Sociological Research at Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University. Alla graduated from the Carnegie Research Fellowship Program (2015-2016) and the Carnegie Publications Program (2016-2017) at New York University (USA).


As part of the informal education program “Living History Studies” (2017), she implemented her project on the impact of Hasidic pilgrimage on public spaces in Ukrainian cities. Since 2017, she has been a doctoral student at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Warsaw). The topic of her doctoral thesis is “Comparative analysis of the effects of Hasidic pilgrimage on the local frames of memory in Poland and Ukraine.” She is a participant of the doctoral workshop at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in 2018-2019 and works with the “Protecting Memory” international project.




David Henig ( David is an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University. Henig’s work explores how people remake their lifeworlds in the wake of dramatic societal ruptures. His research has been broadly focused on: conflict and coexistence; violence and memory; Muslim politics, revival and transnational mobility; secularism and sovereignty; postsocialism; charity; informal economies; military waste; and everyday diplomacy and geopolitics. His research resulted in numerous articles, several special issues, one monograph, Remaking Muslim Lives: Everyday Islam in Postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina (2020); and a co-edited volume (with Nicolette Makovicky), Economies of Favour after Socialism (2017). He is currently working on projects related to the entanglements between religion and geopolitics in the post-imperial and post-Cold War contexts, and how people rebuild their lives among explosive war remnants in former Yugoslavia.



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Jacob Lassin ( is a Teaching Fellow at the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies and a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film. His research focuses on the intersection of religion, politics, literature and new media in Russia and the former Soviet Union.
He is currently working on a book project titled Sacred Sites: Russian Orthodox Cultural Politics Online, which explores how websites run by the Russian Orthodox Church and its allies work to reframe the national literary canon to attract a new educated elite that supports the Church and the State. In addition to his book project, he is also engaged in research on different topics related to Russian and post-Soviet culture, religion, and media.
Lassin received his PhD from Yale University in 2019. Prior to starting at the Havighurst Center, he held Postdoctoral Fellowships at the Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies at Arizona State University and the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University.




Jesko Schmoller ( is assistant professor at the Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University Berlin. Trained as a social anthropologist, he works on local Muslim pilgrimage, saint veneration and Sufism in Russia (Ural region) and Central Asia (Kazakhstan). In the past, he spent some time as a research fellow at the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University (Sweden), at Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Dynamics in the History of Religions between Asia and Europe”, Ruhr University Bochum (Germany) and at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin (Germany). Some of his articles were published in the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, Forum for Anthropology and Culture, Problems of Post-Communism, Nationalities Papers, Ethnicities and Contemporary Islam. Schmoller also contributed a chapter to the forthcoming publication “Sufism after the USSR” by Igor Pankov and Sergei Abashin. Together with Knut-Martin Stünkel from Ruhr University Bochum, he is currently editing a special issue on the decolonisation of Russian history and culture for the journal Entangled Religions. 




I joined King’s in 2006, after receiving a PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where I also taught and did research. Earlier in my life, I taught History at a Moscow School of Arts, and even had a stint as its headmaster. The fascinating changes immediately before and after the fall of the Soviet Union reinforced my interest in the social scientific study of religion, which remains my abiding interest (alongside theatre and music!).

I am particularly interested in origins and consequences of religious innovation across religious traditions in a variety of contexts, and my current focus is on religious minorities and religiously motivated ‘radicalisation’ in Russia and Western Europe, and on the new trends in the Russian Christian Orthodoxy and Islam. 



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Viktor Yelenskyi ( is currently is a Chief Researcher at Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine.

He earned his MA (History) from Kyiv State University and Candidate of Science and Doctor of Science Diplomas from Institute of Philosophy at National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. He worked as a researcher at the Institute of Sociology and Institute of Philosophy; former editor of the Ukrainian Journal for Religious Studies Lyudina i Svit; former head of the Kyiv Bureau of Radio Liberty; and taught at the Ukrainian Catholic University and the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine. In 2004 and 2021 Viktor Yelenskyi was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) and the Catholic University of America (Washington, DC), respectively.

In 2014 he served as an Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ukraine. In 2014 Prof. Yelenskyi was elected to the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine and from 2014-19 headed the Parliamentarian Sub-Committee for Religion and State Affairs and Religious Freedom. In 2019 he served as a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Viktor Yelenskyi drafted a Governmental decree on Military Chaplaincy in Ukraine (July 2, 2014) and several bills aimed at the development of cultural industries, the preservation of cultural heritage, and the implementation of constitutional guarantees of freedom of conscience, which approved by Parliament.

Since 2011 Viktor Yelenskyi has been Head of the Center for Study of Religion at Dragomanov National Pedagogical University and since 2020 , a Chief Researcher at Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine.

He has authored manybooks, articles, and essays on religious freedom, religion and politics, and global religious trends and transformations.




Sergei Shtyrkov is Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology (European University at St. Petersburg) and Senior Researcher at Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Russian Academy of Sciences). His research interests include anthropology of religion, nationalism studies and folk narrative studies. He is author of Historical Legends on Foreign Invasion: The Peasant Narrative and Mythology of Landscape (Saint Petersburg: MAE, 2012); Religion, or the Bonds of Piety (Saint Petersburg: EUSPb, 2021) (both in Russian).



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Yuliya Yurchuk ( is a Senior Lecturer of History at Umeå University, Sweden. She specializes in memory studies, history of religion, and the study of nationalism in East European countries. She is the author of Reordering of Meaningful Worlds: Memory of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in Post-Soviet Ukraine (Acta, 2014) and co-editor of Memory and Religion from a Postsecular Perspective (Routledge, 2021). Her articles have appeared in Memory Studies, Nationalities Papers, Europe-Asia Studies, Nordisk Østforum, Baltic Worlds, Ukraina Moderna.



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