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Religion in Praxis Conversation Series

Religion in Praxis Conversation Series

By Religion in Praxis
Religion in Praxis Conversation Series is a monthly podcast hosted by Dr. Tornike Metreveli, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Theology and Religious Studies of the Lund University. The purpose of the podcast is to enhance knowledge and understanding about the fundamental historical, political and social processes affecting the relationship between religion, nationalism and theology.
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#3 Svenungsson, Fridlund & Linjamaa

Religion in Praxis Conversation Series

#13 Anna Grzymala-Busse
How did the state arise in Europe? The canonical answer is Charles Tilly’s: “war made the state and the state made war.” The starting point is the fragmentation of territorial political authority in Europe after the collapse of the Carolingian empire in 888, and the ambitions of rulers in the early modern (1500-1700) era. To expand their rule, monarchs and princes fought bitter wars with other other—and to fund this increasingly costly warfare, they extracted taxes. Domestic institutions such as state administrations, fiscal offices, and parliaments arose in response to these needs.  In these “bellecist” accounts, rulers who succeeded in building up the administrative and military apparatus of war went on to consolidate their territorial gains and ensure the survival of their states. These relentless pressures eventually meant fewer and bigger states, from as many as 500 independent states in Europe in 1500 to 30 four centuries later. In a current episode, Anna Grzymala Busse takes Charles Tilly to church, and questions each of these core pillars of the bellecist story. She shows that roots of many state institutions are found in the medieval era, not the early modern. Fragmentation was not simply a post-imperial legacy, but a sustained and deliberate policy.
September 29, 2022
#12 Nicholas Denysenko
This is the twelfth episode of the Praxis in Religion Conversation Series where Tornike hosts Prof. Nicholas Denysenko. In this conversation, titled "A Rebirth of Orthodoxy: Moral and Epistemological Preliminaries," Professor Denysenko reflects on the historical tensions simmering between Ecumenical and Moscow Patriarchates since 1920s. Denysenko examines the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s intervention in Ukraine and the creation of Orthodox Church of Ukraine, and provides a scholarly analysis of and debate on Russian world ideain the wider ecclesial psychological framework. The conversation between Tornike Metreveli and Nicholas Denysenko delves deeper into the Ukrainian resistance to the Russian world since 2009, power dynamics within the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), their anti-war position and ethical, moral and theological implications of the Russian invasion on Orthodox Christianity globally.
May 26, 2022
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Special Edition: Tetiana Kalenychenko and Tornike Metreveli on Religion and Conflict Transformation - Points of connection
This conversation with Dr. Tetiana Kalenychenko will give a rare insight into the current religious situation in Ukraine and situate ongoing events in the wider historical context.
May 11, 2022
#11 Aleksandar Matovski
This is the eleventh episode in the Religion in Praxis Conversations Series, and today's presentation from Aleksandar Matovski engages, in particular, the following questions: Does Russian public support Ukraine war? What do they demand from Putin?What is the role of nationalists in this war? How will the war continue and can we predict the outcomes? These, and many more questions, are found in this vibrant dialogue with Aleksandar Matovsk; a top expert on electoral autocracies and Assistant Professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. Matovski's research focuses on the dynamics of popular opinion, protest, political violence, and conflict in authoritarian regimes, with a focus on Europe and the former Soviet Union. Matovski holds a PhD in Government from Cornell University, MA in War Studies from King's College London and BA in Law from Saints Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje. Prior to his academic career, he was National Security Advisor in the Government of North Macedonia and Political and Military Advisor in the North Macedonian Ministry of Defence, as well as a Research Director in the Forum Center for Strategic Research and Documentation in Skopje, North Macedonia.  Follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page for informative threads! ---------------------------------------------- Music for the Conversation Series is generously provided by the Shavnabada Choir . The project author and the host of the Conversation Series is Dr. Tornike Metreveli. ---------------------------------------------- Religion and Theology is produced by Joel Kuhlin for the Center for Theology and Religious Studies. If you have comments or critique of this episode, or any other episodes of R&T, please contact us via the podcast's twitteraccount: @reloteol.
April 25, 2022
#10 Elizabeth Shakman Hurd
This is the tenth episode in the Religion in Praxis Conversations Series (previously known simply as "the Conversations Series") and today's speaker is Elizabeth Shakman Hurd. While offering important perspectives on the myriad evidentiary assessment challenges facing adjudicators, the legal and social scientific literature bypasses the political theological questions that interest me here. What are the theological and political conditions that sustain practices of political and religious asylum seeking despite the persistent limitations and limits surrounding legal adjudication involving religion? Given the instability of the category of religion, why do the authorities persist in trying to establish whether a person, action, belief, or practice is credibly subject to religious persecution? How might we understand religion anew in this context? To address these questions, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd approaches the question of religion in asylum seeking and claiming through the prism of theology, understood in this context as a mode of inquiry that takes the human as a question rather than as a given, and acknowledges the significance of human finitude rather than an assertion of human mastery. We situate the argument in the context of ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and the migration crisis cause by this war.
April 05, 2022
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Special Edition: José Casanova and Tornike Metreveli
What are the religious dimensions of an ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine? What are the global religious and theological responses to this war? In this special episode of the Religion in Praxis Conversation series, I am hosting an eminent sociologist Professor Jose Casanova to address these and some other relevant questions pertaining to the religious aspects of this war.
March 30, 2022
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Special Edition: Cyril Hovorun, Ulrich Schmid and Regina Elsner
In our special series on Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, I talked with three renowned scholars. In the first part, together with Cyril Hovorun, we try to understand Putin's mind, his operational tactics, and the political theology behind this invasion. In the second part, Ulrich Schmid helps us to delve deeper into the history of ideas and wider geopolitical and historical contexts. In the third part, Regina Elsner guides us through the doctrinal controversies and ethical dimensions of the Russian Orthodox Church's position over the invasion
March 27, 2022
#9 Siniša Malešević
This is the the ninth episode of the Conversation Series, Siniša Malešević, sociologist and a Chair of Sociology at University College Dublin, will talk on the topic of "Grounded Nationalisms: a Sociological Analysis." Globalisation is not the enemy of nationalism; instead, Professor Malešević shows, the two forces have developed together through modern history. Malešević challenges dominant views which see nationalism as a declining social force. He explains why the recent escalations of populist nationalism throughout the world do not represent a social anomaly but are, in fact, a historical norm. By focusing on ever-increasing organisational capacity, greater ideological penetration and networks of micro-solidarity, Malešević shows how and why nationalism has become deeply grounded in the everyday life of modern human beings. The author explores the social dynamics of these grounded nationalisms via an analysis of varied contexts, from Ireland to the Balkans. His findings show that increased ideological diffusion and the rising coercive capacities of states and other organisations have enabled nationalism to expand and establish itself as the dominant operative ideology of modernity. Malešević’s main research interests include the study of war and organised violence, ethnicity, nation-states, and nationalism, empires, ideology, sociological theory and the comparative historical sociology. Music for the Conversation Series is generously provided by the Shavnabada Choir .The project author and the host of the Conversation Series is Dr. Tornike Metreveli. This episode is produced by Joel Kuhlin for the Center for Theology and Religious Studies.
March 04, 2022
#8 Risto Saarinen
This is the eight episode of the Conversation series, with special guest speaker Risto Saarinen and with the theme of reconciliation. Reconciliation is today an established practice of peace and mediation work. While the concept of reconciliation has its religious roots in the Greek and Latin New Testament, the modern practices are also indebted to Hegel’s philosophy. To understand the meaning of reconciliation properly, an interdisciplinary perspective is needed. Professor Risto Saarinen guides us through this complex and multifaceted process. Music for the Conversation Series is generously provided by the Shavnabada Choir .The project author and the host of the Conversation Series is Dr. Tornike Metreveli. This episode was produced by Joel Kuhlin for the Center for Theology and Religious Studies. 
January 27, 2022
#7 Lavinia Stan
This is the seventh episode of the Conversation Series, with the guestspeaker Lavinia Stan. After 1989, the Romanian Orthodox Church was called to re-evaluate its collaboration with the repressive communist rule, as well as the fascist regime that preceded it. However, instead of honestly assessing past wrongs and giving satisfaction to victims, this re-evaluation sought to consolidate the Church’s partnership with the Romanian state and pre-eminence among religious denominations. Drawing on a number of prominent cases, this talkshows the interplay of Orthodoxy, memory and nationalism in one post-communist country. Music for the Conversation Series is generously provided by the Shavnabada Choir .The project author and the host of the Conversation Series is Dr. Tornike Metreveli. This episode was produced by Joel Kuhlin for the Center for Theology and Religious Studies.
December 26, 2021
#6 Catherine Wanner
This is the sixth episode of the Conversation Series, with Catherine Wanner: professor of history, anthropology, and religious studies at Penn State. In this talk, Wanner conceptualizes and analyzes how “an affective atmosphere of religiosity” can be created and made politically useful. The spaces in between institutional religion and individual, ritualized behaviors as people go about their everyday lives can become sites that foster such an atmosphere. In some Orthodox Christian countries, a “place animated with prayer” is said to be filled with energy that links individuals to others and to otherworldly powers. This designation allows non-doctrinal practices, non-clerical forms of authority, and non-institutional sacred sites to develop. Orienting religious practices to such sites circumvents anticipated coercion from clergy and institutions alike, but retains the shared understandings, emotional involvement, and attachments to places these vernacular religious practices breed. In this episode, Wanner offers analyses of such sites and atmospheres in Ukraine, and reflects on the plethora of practices people have developed to tap into the energy that resides in these places to make a change in their lives. Music for the Conversation Series is generously provided by the Shavnabada Choir This episode was produced by Joel Kuhlin for the Center for Theology and Religious Studies. 
November 25, 2021
#5 Nancy Ammerman
This is the fifth episode of the Conversation Series, with the theme “Studying Lived Religion: Contexts and Practices” and with the guest Nancy T. Ammermann. Although the study of lived religion has been around for over two decades, there has not been an agreed-upon definition of what it encompasses, and we have lacked a sociological theory to frame the way it is studied. Ammerman offers a definition that expands lived religion’s geographic scope and a framework of seven dimensions around which we can analyze lived religious practice. Examples from multiple traditions and disciplines show the range of methods available for such studies, offering practical tips for how to begin. Her work opens up how we understand the category of lived religion, erasing the artificial divide between what happens in congregations and other religious institutions and what happens in other settings. Professor Ammerman shows how deeply religion permeates everyday lives. In revealing the often overlooked ways that religion shapes human experience, she invites us all into new ways of seeing the world around us. Nancy T. Ammerman is one of the most influential sociologists in the study of lived religion. Her most recent research published in her edited 2006 book Everyday Religion Observing Modern Religious Lives (Oxford University Press) and her 2013 book, Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes Finding Religion in Everyday Life, (Oxford University Press) explored the ways religion and spirituality are part of the everyday world of work, home, health, and public life Following on that research, she has articulated an invitation to “re think religion” based on sociological theories of practice and a body of research on “lived religion”. Pulling all of this together is her book Studying Lived Religion Contexts and Practices, which will be out from NYU Press in October 2021. Along with Grace Davie, she was Coordinating Lead Author for “Religions and Social Progress Critical Assessments and Creative Partnerships” in the Report of the International Panel for Social Progress (Cambridge University Press 2018).
October 19, 2021
#4 Christian Joppke
This is the fourth episode of the Conversation Series, in which Professor Joppke explores the forms and contents of contemporary nationalism in Europe and North America, what used to be called the ‘West’ in a talk under the rubric “Nationalism in the neoliberal order: Old wine in new bottles.” This nationalism responds in opposite and sometimes contradictory ways to a neoliberal order of globalization, welfare-state retreat and a heightened sense of insecurity. Joppke distinguishes between populist and statist forms of contemporary nationalism, and within the statist between a compensatory and a constitutive logic of linking it with neoliberalism. Under the constitutive logic, nationalism may adopt certain features of the neoliberal order itself, which yields a ‘neoliberal nationalism’. Non-ethnic yet exclusive of those who are not contributing, this is a new entry in the nations and nationalism lexicon. Christian Joppke holds a chair in sociology at the University of Bern, Switzerland. A student of eminent Jürgen Habermas during his student years in Germany, he later received a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989. He authored more than 100 publications in major sociology journals and is one of the most widely cited sociologists. His books are published by major academic (Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge) and are considered as classics in the field of migration studies. Joppke’s present research cover social movements and the state, citizenship and immigration, most recently religion and politics, especially Islam in Western societies. His most recent scholarship, also published widely in core journals and presses, such as his book Neoliberal Nationalism: Immigration and the Rise of the Populist Right (Cambridge 2021), deals with the complex interaction between nationalism and neoliberalism. Music for the Conversation Series is generously provided by the Shavnabada Choir This episode was produced by Joel Kuhlin for the Center for Theology and Religious Studies. 
October 06, 2021
#3 Svenungsson, Fridlund & Linjamaa
In this episode, the three speakers, Jayne Svenungsson, Patrik Fridlund, and Paul Linjamaa examine the shifting and at times counterintuitive dimensions of the concept of religion as a category of analysis and category of practice. In this episode, we further problematize the discursive practices of religion as a social force in western philosophy, and the functional dimension of religion as a producer and communicator of meaning – in the light of religious involvements in post-truth politics, relativization of factuality and evidence, socio-political implications of those interactions. Lastly, the episode examines the mechanisms concerning constructions of orthodoxy and heterodoxy, and heresiology as a phenomena. A special thank you to Professor Tymofii Brik, who kindly agreed to substitute our regular host, Tornike, for this episode.
June 15, 2021
#2 José Casanova
This episode was recorded in April, 2021.  The relations between religions, nationalisms and patterns of globalization have historically beenand continue to be complex, multiform, and diverse. They can hardly be reduced to simple unilinear, unidirectional or universal formulations, or to simple alternating dynamics betweenprogressive globalization and regressive reactive re-nationalizations. Professor Casanova guides us through the emergence of various types of neo-nationalisms in the EU and beyond providing us with powerful analogies, historical contexts and seemingly ignored factors that show complex transnational coalitions beyond the European Union. Music for the Conversation Series is generously provided by the Shavnabada Choir This episode was produced by Joel Kuhlin for the Center for Theology and Religious Studies. 
June 08, 2021
#1 Cyril Hovorun
This episode is a recording from a conversation which took place in March, 2021. Professor Hovorun examines how political theology intertwined with realpolitik and how it led to military action in the wars of the 21st century. The conversation delves deeper into the the origin of ‘political Orthodoxy’ as a concept (or political strategy) and its viable distinction from the Russian world as an idea, as a project, as an ideology, or a cultural mechanism. In dialogue with an audience, Professor Hovorun problematizes the meaningful distinctions between the ideologies of Byzantinism, Orthodoxies and Easternism and proposes novel directions to which Orthodox Christian social policy shall be redirected. Music for the Conversation Series is generously provided by the Shavnabada Choir This episode was produced by Joel Kuhlin for the Center for Theology and Religious Studies. 
June 07, 2021