alexandra e.s. antohin




I am a social anthropologist that investigates the breadth of religion in the public sphere and how it creates key cross-sections between active political ideologies, intellectual traditions of faiths, and multiple orders of worship and spiritual expression.

I have engaged with issues relating to global religions and social change since 2003, when I first embarked on an academic study on the historical integration of Russian Orthodoxy in Southwest Alaska. I continued my interest in Eastern Christianity, which took me to the Russian Far East to study the scaling-up of faith communities and religious consciousness since the end of the Soviet Union (M.A. 2008, University of Alaska Fairbanks) and to north-eastern Ethiopia where I conducted ethnographic research on Orthodox Christian devotional practices and the management of religious pluralism (PhD. 2014, University College London). See Projects

The central subject matter of my research, how the laity converse with the tradition of their faith, can be broadly classed as an effort to define the territories of everyday religion in their various dimensions. By directing the focus on 'the laity', my work aims to emphasize 'the ordinary doing the ordinary'; that is, individuals with nominal parochial education yet vast cultural exposure who are habitually engaged in devotional activities. A cross-cultural focus on Orthodox Christianities has been a fruitful avenue for articulating the processes by which institutions, like the Orthodox Christian Church, are mobilized by segments of society to build legitimacy and trust during moments of political instability. My theoretical background in the anthropology of religion has allowed me to make substantial contributions to understanding the societal role of religion as a critical component for articulating cultural, regional, and spiritual diversities. See Research Interests

As a critical analyst with a comparative approach to religious studies, I pursue research questions that deal directly with the study of normative modalities of spiritual expression as an integral component of people's repertoire towards strategies of living. My projects have concentrated on issues concerned with urban studies, pluralism and multicultural contexts, domains of ritual and performance, which includes theoretical foundations in aesthetics and linguistic theory, and scholarship on cultural innovation and creativity.