My broad research area is Russian Orthodox Christianity, with particular focus on lived religion, and the relationship between religion, historical memory and identity. My doctoral research on the medieval language and modern historiography of Russian ‘double-belief’ was funded by the British Academy and published by Routledge.
I am currently researching the revival of pilgrimage in post-Soviet Russia for a volume contracted in the Routledge Studies in Religion, Travel and Tourism series. In recent years I have been invited to speak on this research at universities and research centres in Russia (National Research University Higher School of Economics; St Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian State Academy of Sciences), the USA, the Netherlands, France and UK, and was key speaker at the inaugural event of the Religion and Spirituality Study Group of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies.
Since 2009 I have been an associate lecturer for the Open University, teaching multi- and interdisciplinary undergraduate courses, and in 2014/15 I am teaching the third year history course on Church, State and Belief in Soviet Russia 1941-1991 at the University of Leicester. I serve on the academic advisory board of the Keston Center for Religion, Politics and Society at Baylor University, Texas and the academic advisory board of the Institute for the Academic Study of Eastern Christianity, VU University Amsterdam.
‘Touching the Holy: Orthodox Christian pilgrimage within Russia’, in Eade, J. and Albera, D. (eds) International Perspectives on Pilgrimage Studies: Itineraries, Gaps and Obstacles (New York and London: Routledge, 2015), pp. 47-68.
‘Rebuilding the chain: Tradition, continuity and processions of the cross in post-Soviet Russia’, in Tolstaya, K. (ed.), Orthodox Paradoxes: Heterogeneities and Complexities in Contemporary Russian Orthodoxy (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2014), pp. 275-301.
‘“They burned the pine, but the place remains all the same”: Pilgrimage in the changing landscape of Soviet Russia’, in Wanner, C. (ed.), State Secularism and Lived Religion in Soviet Russia and Ukraine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 159-189.
‘The Challenges of Military Chaplaincy’ (introductory article of a special issue I guest edited on ‘The Changing Nature of Military Chaplaincy’), Religion, State & Society 39, no. 1 (2011), 1–8.
‘Russian Piety and Orthodox Culture 1380–1589’ in Angold, M. (ed.), The Cambridge History of Christianity. Volume 5: Eastern Christianity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 253-275.
Popular Religion in Russia: ‘Double-belief’ and the Making of an Academic Myth (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2007. Released in paperback in 2009).