About INaSEC

About INaSEC

Welcome to the Institute for the Academic Study of Eastern Christianity (INaSEC).

  • Are you interested in religion in a social context? 
  • Do you follow developments in post-Soviet space? 
  • And do you ask questions like: What made the mass religious revival in post-Soviet countries after more than 70 years of state atheism? 
  • How to assess the role of Soviet legacy in the current religious revival? 
  • How communism is not a religion? 
  • What distinguishes religion from ideology? 
  • Where is God in suffering? 
  • Does Russian literature really express the ‘Russian soul’? 
  • What is the relation between academic theology and the humanities? 

Then you are at the right place!

Expertise on religion in post-Soviet societies
Founded in 2010 by Katya Tolstaya, INaSEC offers expertise on religion in post-Soviet societies. We create an open platform for reflection on the most difficult, ‘ultimate’, questions regarding the past and present of religion by way of:

  • Conferences, seminars, workshops 
  • Academic research 
  • Contract research for diplomacy and business 
  • Website and blog Valorisation, e.g. icon and photo exhibitions, public lectures 
  • A global network of top experts 

INaSEC is initiating the entirely new field of an interdisciplinary and interreligious post-Soviet theology and study of religion. In the first phase, we are developing a Theology after Gulag. Theology after Gulag engages with, but is not confined to, a theology ‘in’ or ‘about’ the Soviet system of forced labour camps known as ‘Gulag’. Theology after Gulag deals with the ultimate theological, theoretical, and methodological questions in the religious and political context of post-Soviet societies. Our aim is to learn from and make this theology a true counterpart to ‘theologies-after’ which have changed mentalities, for example in post-Nazi Germany and post-apartheid South Africa (see here, and here).

The Interdisciplinary study of religion
To this end, INaSEC develops new approaches for the interdisciplinary study of religion. By establishing a kaleidoscopic methodology, INaSEC promotes a focused and balanced assessment of socio-political, historical, theological, and anthropological issues in the current Orthodox world. INaSEC inspires engaged dialogue, involves scholars, stakeholders and decision-makers in intellectual debate, and stimulates them to confront the ‘ultimate’ questions (see also here).

Join us in our discussions on issues and developments in post-Soviet space
Currently, the INaSEC team consists of six members. We cooperate with experts from academia, civil society and government to connect international academic expertise on Eastern Orthodoxy and (post-)Soviet studies with stakeholders and policymakers in countries of the former Soviet Union. INaSEC instigates, coordinates and hosts a range of projects: high-level academic case-studies, methodological reflection, educational programs, fieldwork, and international research groups. Our criterion is academic excellence.

We welcome jong and senior academics, clergy, journalists and anyone interested to contribute to the discussion on issues and developments in post-Soviet space. You can do this by participating in the discussions on our Blog and by registering at this website, joining the conferences, applying for the VU Faculty of Religion and Theology (FRT) (Research) Master or PhD-programs, or contacting us via e-mail.