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Dr Stella Rock

Profile summary

Professional biography

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, the USA, the Netherlands, Spain, France and the 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. I serve on the academic advisory boards of the Keston Center for Religion, Politics and Society at Baylor University, Texas and the Institute for the Academic Study of Eastern Christianity, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. I also co-convene (with Dr Zoe Knox, University of Leicester) the BASEES Religion and Spirituality in Russia and Eastern Europe Study Group and from February 2019 am managing editor for the journal Religion, State & Society.

Selected publications

'The life of dry bones: Pilgrimage to relic shrines in Soviet Russia',in Pazos, Antón M. (ed.) Relics, Shrines and Pilgrimages: Sanctity in Europe from Late Antiquity (London and New York: Routledge, 2020)

'Pilgrimage', in Chryssides, G. D. and Gregg, S. (eds) The Bloomsbury Handbook to Studying Christians (London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019)

‘Following in Mary’s footsteps: Marian apparitions and pilgrimage in contemporary Russia’, in Adams, A. and Shevzov, V. (eds), Framing Mary: The Mother of God in Modern, Revolutionary, and Post-Soviet Russian Culture (DeKalb: Northern Illinois Press, 2018), pp.246-269. 

‘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).