Open Theology: Topical Issue on Alternative Religiosities in the Soviet Union and the Communist East-Central Europe: Formations, Resistances and Manifestations
Rasa Pranskevičiūtė, Vytautas Magnus University
Eglė Aleknaitė, Vytautas Magnus University
Open Theology invites submissions for the topical issue “Alternative Religiosities in the Soviet Union and the Communist East-Central Europe: Formations, Resistances and Manifestations”, under the general editorship of Dr. Rasa Pranskevičiūtė and Dr. Eglė Aleknaitė (Vytautas Magnus University).
After the boom of traditional religions (i. e. prevailing national religions or those that have a relatively long history in a particular country) and alternative religious movements (i. e. religious movements that offer an alternative to the traditional religion(s) in a particular country) in post-communist/post-socialist countries, the religion(s) of this area have gained increasing scholarly attention. Research on the religious situation during the prior communist/socialist period is primarily focused on restrictions placed on traditional religions and their survival strategies, while the corresponding phenomena of the alternative religious of that time still lack proper analysis.
The special issue invites papers that address alternative religiosities in the communist/socialist countries up to 1990. Due to Soviet control, they mostly existed underground and could remain only if expressed clandestinely. Beside the officially-established Soviet culture, connected with the Communist Party’s aim to control all aspects of the public sphere, there was an unofficial cultural field that was very receptive to the arrival, formation, spread and expressions of diverse alternative religiosities and spiritualities. The disappointment with the existing narrowness of the official communist ideology and the loss of the absolute allegiance to it led to the formation and rise of unofficial socio-cultural alternatives within the system. The underground activities, including access to alternative spiritual and esoteric ideas and practices, generally existed in parallel, or even jointly, with the official culture and institutions.
We invite religious scholars, historians, anthropologists, as well as authors representing other disciplines, to submit both empirical and theoretical papers including, but not limited to the following topics:
- Networks and inter-community connections
- Flows of ideas within the Soviet Union and communist East-Central Europe and from the outside
- Centers and peripheries of the milieu of alternative religiosity in the region
- Politics and actions of the regime towards alternative religiosity
- Restrictions, repressions and survival strategies of practitioners of alternative religiosity
- Milieu of alternative religiosity as a space of resistance
- Relationships of communities of alternative religiosity with dominant religious traditions
- Theoretical frameworks and methodological problems in research on alternative religiosities within the Soviet Union and the communist East-Central European region
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