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Bordering Religion in (Post) Cold War Worlds

On June 16-18, the international conference on anthropology ‘Bordering Religion in (Post) Cold War Worlds’ was held at HSE St. Petersburg. The event was organized by Angie Heo from the University of Chicago Divinity School (USA) and Zhanna Kormina, HSE Professor.

The Wenner Gren Foundation, which finances projects in the field of anthropology, provided financial support for the event. It supports innovative projects focused on developing new theoretical approaches and methods.

The conference sought to rethink the Cold War’s legacy as a geopolitical project from the point of view of modern religious groups, cultures, practices, and events. Can we really say that the Cold War is over? How do our religious borders correlate with today’s political borders? And what is the role of the controversial border between the religious and secular spheres of society in this process?

Anthropologists and historians from Canada, Finland, Germany, Georgia, Great Britain, Hungary, Korea, Romania, Russia (HSE and RAS European University), and the United States came together to discuss these and many other questions.

Their reports are also geographically highly diverse: ethnographic and historical research is conducted in China, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, India, Korea, Palestine, various different regions of Russia, Spain, Ukraine, and the United States. Sarah Green, a renowned expert in the anthropology of borders, Head of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki, was the conference’s keynote speaker.

Conference participants also went on excursions to the Kunstkamera — Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences — and the Museum of Political History. All the participants described the HSE as welcoming. Special thanks were given to Alexander Semyonov, who opened the conference, , Manager of the Office for Academic Development, and the student volunteers supervised by HSE MA student Olga Karandeeva. The conference results will be published in the conference proceedings.