Catherine Wanner

Professor of History, Anthropology and Religious Studies
Barry Director of the Paterno Fellows Program
(814) 865-6689
302 Weaver Building
College of the Liberal Arts, Department of History

PhD, Columbia University, 1996

My current research centers broadly on the politics of religion, secularism, and increasingly on human rights in the former Soviet Union.  I am particularly interested in how the shifting politics of religion and processes of secularization in the USSR have shaped social and cultural practices in everyday life in post-Soviet societies.  My interest in religion stems from earlier research on nationalism and historical memory in Ukraine and has since broadened to include how religion intersects with migration, political protest as well as globalization.

My first book, Burden of Dreams: History and Identity in Post-Soviet Ukraine, analyzed the colonial nature of the Soviet Union by examining how historical events were reinterpreted as a form of political protest and re-presented in commemorations, festivals, and the urban landscape to articulate a sense of nationhood after 1991. Communities of the Converted: Ukrainians and Global Evangelism explored how the prominent role religion assumed in public life in post-Soviet Ukraine contributed to the formation of transnational communities, alternative moralities and political engagement. I edited a collection of essays on lived religion in the USSR entitled, State Secularism and Lived Religion in Soviet Russia and Ukraine and co-edited Religion, Morality and Community in Post-Soviet Societies.

I am currently writing a book on how popular forms of religiosity are used in political protest in Ukraine and Russia and editing a collection of essays entitled, Public Religion, Ambient Faith: The Anthropology of Religion.  I received my doctorate in sociocultural anthropology and employ a variety of methods in my research beyond archival work, including semi-structured interviews, life history narratives, and ethnographic methods of participant observation.

Recent Publications:

State Secularism and Lived Religion in Soviet Russia and Ukraine, editor, New York:  Oxford University Press, 2012.

Communities of the Converted: Ukrainians and Global Evangelism. Culture and Society after Socialism Series, Bruce Grant and Nancy Ries, editors, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007.

Burden of Dreams: History and Identity in Post-Soviet Ukraine. Post-Communist Cultural Studies Series, Thomas Cushman, editor, University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 1998.