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Evangelical Women's "Lived Religion" in Soviet Siberia

Dissertation Project

Working Title: "Religious Activism in Soviet Siberia: Evangelical Women’s Faith in Everyday Life, 1941-1991"


Supervisor: Gregory L. Freeze


This dissertation examines the development of female religious activism in evangelical communities in postwar Soviet Siberia. The central foci include the modes of female religious praxis and the strategies women utilized to sustain their faith (and that of their families and religious communities) in the ever-widening spheres of home, church, and society, while facing constant scrutiny and occasional repression under the Soviet state. The dissertation elucidates the way evangelical Protestant women in Siberia maintained, developed, and modified their faith and religious praxis in the Soviet Union’s final 50 years—from the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), to the postwar period of relative religious revival (1945-1957), through the Khrushchevian anti-religious campaigns (1958-1964) and the “high” Soviet period (1964-1985), and on to the perestroika period and the ultimate collapse of the Soviet state (1986-1991).


Oral History

The research for this project has involved fourteen months of focused research in archives in seven different Russian cities, as well as conducting over forty oral history interviews with over fifty individuals in eight cities around Siberia. If you are viewing this site from a desktop, enjoy some photos from April's time with her oral history interviewees. (Mobile users, apologies for the lack of photos; please scroll down for more on this academic project.)


Invited Lecture

“Устная история как окно в повседневную жизнь женщин в евангельских общинах cоветской Сибири” [Oral History as a Window into the Everyday Life of Evangelical Women in Soviet Siberia], Seminar, Center for the History of Religion and the Church, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow), September 2016

Conference Papers & Presentations

“Protest from the Margins: A Human Rights Campaign Led by Evangelical Women in the Soviet Union, 1964-1987,” Evangelical Studies Unit, AAR Annual Meeting, Boston, November 2017

Roundtable Member: "Women as Agents of Change? Fresh Perspectives on Gender and Religion," Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, March 2017

“Oral History as a Window into the Memory, Experience, and Identity of Evangelical Christian-Baptist Women in Soviet Siberia,” Baptist History & Heritage Society Conference, Waco, TX, May 2016

“Leadership from Within: Women in the Evangelical Communities of Siberia, 1941-1991,” St. Petersburg Christian University’s Annual International Conference: “Женщина: Библейско-христианские перспективы” [Women: Biblical-Christian Perspectives], St. Petersburg, Russia, April 2016  (teleconference)

“Evangelicals and Education in Late Soviet Siberia: Children as Sites of Conflict between Believing Parents and the Party/State Apparatus,” ASEEES Convention, Philadelphia, PA, November 2015

“‘Ona zhe baptistka!’: Evangelical Women Workers in Post-WWII Siberia,” ASEC Conference, Memphis, TN, September 2015

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