Center for the Study of Religion
The "religious studies" specialization is part of the general curriculum of the Russian State University of Humanities (RSUH). It is designed to produce highly qualified specialists, able to solve problems of their profession. The idea of the religious studies program has been developed since 2000 by the Director of the Center for the Study of Religion (CSR), Dr. Nikolai V. Shaburov, on the basis of his long teaching experience at RGGU.
The Center's activities combine educational and research work, and this combination has determined the concept of the whole program. The key principle of the program is to prepare qualified researchers through educational process. The concept aims at building such analytic and intellectual skills of the students that would help them to deal with a variety of issues within the realm of their professional competence. The prime attention is paid to the fundamental knowledge in a larger field of humanities, as well as to developing critical thinking and independent reasoning about the problems of the modern world.
An important feature of the program is a combination of the efficient scientific objectivity, free from personal agenda or value judgments, with a sympathetic attitude to religious belief and practices. This approach creates certain advantages over both more apologetic, confessional education, on the one hand, and a thoroughly atheistic approach, on the other. The very possibility of such orientation is proved by the fact that, in recent years, there have been a few graduates whose religious determination did not affect their academic research.
The principle described above determines the very aim of the "religious studies" specialization. A student builds up a set of professional skills required at his or her future workplace. This include a broad and profound knowledge of the methods of religious studies, history of world religions, religious situation in Russia and in the world; ability to analyze religious texts and develop an argumentative judgment; ability to professionally teach general humanities subjects and more specialized topics related to religion. The educational curriculum developed by the faculty of the Center allows to achieving of such goals.
In 1989 the Russian State University of Humanities (RSUH) was one of the first universities in Russia to include history of world religions in its undergraduate curriculum. Historian Nikolai Shaburov, whose scholarly interests have been always connected with religious issues but were never realized in the Soviet Union for ideological reasons, was invited to read a relevant course. At the same time, in 1989 and 1990, Father Alexander Men', a talented and open-minded Russian Orthodox priest, gave a few lectures at RSUH not long before his tragic death in 1990. The students of that time could therefore take a closer look and compare two different ways to approach religious phenomena - confessional (denominational) and non-confessional (non-denominational), or, to put it in another way, the approaches "from inside" and "from outside." As a result, a new conception of the religious studies program has been created to combine scientific objectivity with respect to religion as an essential part of human culture.
The study of world religions at RSUH has been finally institutionalized in 1992, when a Center of Comparative Religious Studies was founded.
In 1993 the School of Comparative Studies of World Religions was created, which provided higher education in two fields, history and philosophy, and three specializations: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Nowadays the successor of the School is the Center for the Study of Religion which coordinates its educational activities with the Institute of Professional Development of RSUH.
To 1996 the growing academic potential of the RSUH allowed to opening a distinctive religious studies specialization within a Department of History and Theory of Culture. The creation of an independent body in 1997, headed by Nikolai Shaburov, was a response to the demand of the evolving Russian society for highly qualified specialists in religious studies. The increasing public interest to the interaction of religious and secular spheres in Russia, as well as a general rise of religions' impact on global developments made an independent religious studies program an uncontestable necessity. The final and logical result was the creation of the Education and Research Center for the Study of Religion in 2000.
Shaburov Nikolai Vitalievich, Director of the Center, Professor, PhD. in Cultural Studies. Field of research: history of Christianity, Christian theology, Hermetic studies, Gnosticism, modern religious situation in Russia.
Zhukova Ludmila Gennadjevna, Deputy Director, Professor, Ph.D. in Cultural Studies. Field of research: Biblical studies, early Christianity, Judaism, modern religiosity.
Agadjanian Alexander Sergeevich, Professor, Ph.D. in History. Field of research: Buddhism in Southeast Asia, Russian Orthodox social theory and religious practices, religions and global developments in the modern world.
Muskhelishvili Nikolai Lvovich, Professor, Ph.D. in Psychology, the leading specialist at the Institute of Information Transmission, Russian Academy of Sciences; Director of St. Foma Institute of Religious Studies, Theology and History in Moscow; Editor of the journal "Symbol". Field of research: analysis of religious experience, mystical and altered states of consciousness, prayer practices.
Ryzhakova Svetlana Igorevna, Associate Professor, Ph.D. in History, senior researcher at the Russian Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences. Field of research: ethnology and religions of India, Indian dance art, Baltic studies, modern neo-paganism in Europe.
Ignatiev Andrei Andreevich, Associate Professor, Ph.D. in Philosophy. Field of research: sociology of culture and religion, theoretical and methodological problems of religious studies.
Malyshev Boris Alexandrovich, lecturer. Field of research: Chinese and Japanese religion and culture, history of Christian missions in East Asia.
Pylaev Maxim Alexandrovich, Associate Professor, Ph.D. in Philosophy. Field of research: philosophy of religion, phenomenology of religion, theology.
Semenenko-Basin Ilja Victorovich, Associate Professor, Ph.D. in History. Field of research: history of the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17-20 centuries, canonization of Russian saints, history of religious philosophy in Russia.
Falikov Boris Zinovjevich, Ph.D. in History, Editor of the "Culture" newspaper (ili zhurnal?). Field of research: new religious movements, Neo-Hinduism in the West and in India.
Judin Alexej Victorovich, Associate Professor, Ph.D. in History, Executive Secretary of the Editorial-Publishing Council of the Russian Catholic Encyclopedia; member of the Pope Council of Laity. Field of research: history of religions in Russia, history of Russian Catholicism, modern theology, international and inter-religious dialogue.
Jarlykapov Ahmet Aminovich, Associate Professor, Ph.D. in History, Senior Researcher at the Russian Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences. Field of research: Islam in North Caucuses, problems of Muslim education, Muslim radicalism, history of the early Islam among the Turkic peoples of Russia.
Razdyakonov Vladislav Stanislavovich - Ph.D. in History. Field of research: Science and religion, New religious movements, Philosophy of Science.
Shmaina-Velikanova Anna Iljinichna, Associate Professor. Field of research: Biblical studies, early Christianity, Judaism, Christian theology of the twentieth century.
Sergazina Karylgash Tolegenovna, Ph.D. in History. Field of research: Russian mystical theology and cults, modern religious situation in Russia.
Chistjakov Petr Georgievich, Ph.D. in History. Field of research: history of religion in Russia, popular Russian Orthodox religiosity, contemporary religious practices.
Kozarezova Olga Olegovna, , Ph.D. in Philosophy, Associate Professor of the Moscow State Pedagogical University. Field of research: European esoteric cults.
Address - 6 Miusskaya Square 125993, GSP-3, Moscow, Russia
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