"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, June 20, 2022

Russian Orthodoxy in American Culture Wars

I confess that the "culture wars" engrossing (truly the apt word in so many ways) so-called American Christianity, already so swollen on reactionary politics and its various authoritarian fetishes, are things for which I have no patience left. But reading good scholarly analysis of the same, and seeing the connections between reactionary politics in America and Russia will make for very fascinating reading indeed when, later this year, the following book is released: The Moralist International: Russia in the Global Culture Wars  by Kristina Stoeckland Dmitry Uzlaner (Fordham University Press, December 2022), 208pp. 

About this book the publisher tells us this: 

The Moralist International analyzes the role of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian state in the global culture wars over gender- and reproductive rights and religious freedom. It shows how the Russian Orthodox Church in the last thirty years first acquired knowledge about the dynamics, issues, and strategies of Western Christian Right groups; how the Moscow Patriarchate has shaped its traditionalist agenda accordingly; and how the close alliance between church and state has turned Russia into a norm entrepreneur for international moral conservativism. Including detailed case-studies of the World Congress of Families, anti-abortion activism and the global homeschooling movement, the book identifies the key factors, causes and actors of this process. Kristina Stoeckl and Dmitry Uzlaner then develop the concept of conservative aggiornamento to describe Russian traditionalism as the result of conservative religious modernization and the globalization of Christian social conservatism.

The Moralist International continues a line of research on the globalization of the culture wars that challenges the widespread perception that it is only progressive actors who use the international human rights regime to achieve their goals by demonstrating that conservative actors do the same. The book offers a new, original perspective that firmly embeds the conservative turn of post-Soviet Russia in the transnational dynamics of the global culture wars.

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