Turning Rites into Rights: the Remaking of Global Orthodoxy through Law and Politics

Event: Research Group

Location: NEC conference hall

23 April 2024, 17.00-19.00 (Bucharest time)

Vlad NAUMESCU, Associate Professor, Central European University

Short abstract:
This talk explores the changing nature of global Orthodoxy by looking at the transmutation of rites into rights. It draws on ethnographic research in Orthodox communities in Eastern Europe and South India to analyze the entanglement of law, politics and religion between the ‘posts.’ In the Orthodox world religious rites bind Orthodox Christians together more than institutional structures and hierarchies. As aesthetic formations rites work through familiar sensational forms, demarcating communities and setting the criteria through which Orthodoxy is practiced, debated and defended. This has been undergoing a transformation as Orthodox communities encountered challenges posed by secular governance, migration and globalization/deterritorialization, having to navigate new legal and political landscapes while asserting their religious identity and autonomy. What happens when questions of orthodoxy, canonicity and community are turned to the courts and how does the mutual infusion of law and religion reconfigure Orthodox Christianity today?

Short bio:
Vlad Naumescu is Associate Professor at the Central European University. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Eastern Europe and South India, looking at practices, institutions and politics that shape Orthodox communities. Naumescu is the author of Modes of Religiosity in Eastern Christianity: Religious Processes and Social Change in Ukraine (2007), co-editor of Churches In-between: Greek Catholic Churches in Postsocialist Europe (2008), and a forthcoming monograph on ritual, history and ethics in Russian Old Belief. His recent work explores pedagogies of prayer, Cold War apologetics, Orthodox theopolitics and religious orthodoxies in comparative perspective. He combines ethnography with filmmaking in his research, producing several documentary films that speak to his writings.



This event is organized within The Group for Anthropological Research and Debates (GARD) hosted by New Europe College.