Call for Papers: Conference on “Religion, Politics, and Policy Making in Russia”, Tartu, Estonia–June 6-7, 2012

International Workshop
Religion, Politics and Policy-making in Russia: Domestic and International Dimensions
Center for EU-Russia Studies (CEURUS), University of Tartu
Tartu, Estonia
June 6-7, 2012

Organizers: Prof Jerry G. Pankhurst (Wittenberg University, USA; visiting Fulbright scholar at the University of Tartu) and Alar Kilp (University of Tartu)

The Center for EU-Russia Studies (CEURUS) at the University of Tartu invites your participation in a workshop on Religion, Politics and Policy-making in Russia: Domestic and International Dimensions. The workshop is meant to highlight new research on the questions of religion and politics in Russia, to foster collaborative relations for future projects, and to provide an opportunity for everyone to learn about high-quality research that is being carried out in this area of inquiry.

The program organizers seek to explore the politics of religious affairs in Russia and the former Soviet countries and to assess the activities and role of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and other organized religious groups in domestic and foreign policy. Issues related to religious diversity and religious tolerance in Russia and the neighboring countries are also of interest.

Confirmed keynote speakers include Irina Papkova, Professor of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations at the Central European University, and Viacheslav Karpov, Professor of Sociology at Western Michigan University.

Workshop organizers will actively seek opportunities to publish selected papers in a special issue of a journal or in an edited volume.

Workshop Venue: University of Tartu, Estonia. Tartu is a home to one of the oldest universities in Eastern Europe. It was founded by the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus in 1632. Today the University of Tartu is the only classical university in Estonia. It is a leading center of research and training, ranked among the 400 best universities of the world by Times Higher Education. The city of Tartu is a charming university town whose relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere creates a perfect environment for scholarly conversations. Tartu is well-served with bus and train connection with the city of Tallinn and its Lennart Meri Airport. There are also flights to Tartu from Tallinn (Estonian Air) and Helsinki (Flybe, in connection with Finnair). For more information, see:;

Who may participate? We invite scholars of Russian religious affairs and scholars with research focusing on the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church both in and outside of Russia. Graduate students carrying out advanced work are welcomed to submit proposals for a presentation.

The workshop sessions will be open to the public. Anyone who has a serious and informed interest in scholarly research on the topical issues is invited to attend the presentations and participate in question and answer sessions.

Cost: There will be no registration fee for this workshop. The sponsoring organizations will host a reception and a dinner but are not able to cover travel or accommodation expenses of individual participants. However, limited travel support is available to participants from the CIS countries. CEURUS will assist as much as possible with information about local accommodations and other arrangements. If you have questions, please contact Britt Ressar at

Proposing a paper: If you are interested in presenting a paper, please consider the topic preferences below and send your abstract (250-300 words) and a succinct statement of your present position and recent publications and grants (if any) to Alar Kilp (

The deadline for receiving abstracts for consideration for the program is April 2, 2012.
Abstracts will the evaluated by the workshop organizers for quality of scholarship and appropriateness for the program structure and workshop theme. Authors of abstracts selected to be presented will be notified by April 13 via email.

Full papers by presenters will be due by 25 May, 2012. Send papers via email to Alar Kilp (

Potential Topics for Workshop Presentations: Below are some areas of special interest, but this is not a complete list of options for the program. Within the overall guidelines of the workshop, all proposals will be given serious consideration even if their topics are not explicitly listed below.

  • What is the political and social role and influence of the Russian Orthodox Church (including its role in Russian politics in general, its role in Russian foreign policy/international affairs, contributions to EU-Russia relations)?
  • What is the nature of religious or church engagement in various social and political institutions in Russia (schools, marriage, military, prisons, etc.)
  • Given Russia’s religious diversity, what is the state of inter-group relations on a scale of tolerance-intolerance or accommodated-alienated? Of special interest is the state of adaptation and acceptance of Muslim groups in Russia.
  • What are the issues related to religion in the Russian diaspora in the EU (including the Baltic states) and the Russian “Near Abroad” – religious practices, needs; role of Orthodox churches, Eastern orthodoxy in Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia?
  • How well have Russian practices and policies lived up to European norms regarding religion? What are the European concerns regarding freedom of religion/religious life in Russia? What is the role of various European institutions: ECHR, Council of Europe, European Parliament, OSCE, etc.?
  • To what extent have Russian religious groups been active in European governing institutions like those just named? How much do Russians see these institutions as appropriate venues for their own political or politically relevant pursuits?
  • How much and in what ways have Russian religious groups expressed their concerns about problems in religious conditions in Europe, excessive secularity in Europe, and the like?
  • To what extent and in what ways is the Russian Orthodox Church engaged in a “politics of family values” on the broader European stage? How are common interests with Orthodox churches of the countries of the European Union enlisted in these endeavors, and how are non-Orthodox churches (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, other Protestant churches, etc.) involved with the Russian Orthodox? Are non-Christian groups, especially Jews and Muslims, involved in these efforts?
  • Explorations of additional issues in the area of politics and religion related to Russia will be considered for inclusion in the workshop program.

Additional information: Workshop participants may be interested in a conference at the University of Tartu that is scheduled to take place in the week following this workshop. It is the 2012 annual conference of CIHEC, the Commission Internationale d’Histoire et d’etudes du Christianisme. For more information on this conference, see

Academic conveners: Prof Jerry Pankhurst (, Alar Kilp (
Administrative support: Britt Ressar (