Secularism Soviet Style: Teaching Atheism and Religion in a Volga Republic

Dr. Luehrmann's work was supported in part by an SSRC Eurasia Program Title VIII Dissertation Award.

Sonja Luehrmann (2007 Eurasia Program Dissertation Fellow) explores the Soviet atheist effort to build a society without gods or spirits and its afterlife in post-Soviet religious revival. Combining archival research on atheist propaganda of the 1960s and 1970s with ethnographic fieldwork in the autonomous republic of Marij El in Russia’s Volga region, Luehrmann examines how secularist culture-building reshaped religious practice and interreligious relations. One of the most palpable legacies of atheist propaganda is a widespread didactic orientation among the population and a faith in standardized programs of personal transformation as solutions to wider social problems. This didactic trend has parallels in globalized forms of Protestantism and Islam but differs from older uses of religious knowledge in rural Russia. At a time when the secularist modernization projects of the 20th century are widely perceived to have failed,Secularism Soviet Styleemphasizes the affinities and shared histories of religious and atheist mobilizations.
Title
Secularism Soviet Style: Teaching Atheism and Religion in a Volga Republic
Author
Luehrmann, Sonja
Published
Indiana University Press, 2011
ISBN
978-0-253-22355-5
On the web
Citation
Luehrmann, Sonja, Secularism Soviet Style: Teaching Atheism and Religion in a Volga Republic (Indiana University Press, 2011), http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/product_info.php?products_id=783921.