Fully Funded PhD Fellowship
University College Cork invites applications for a fully funded PhD Fellowship as part of the SFI-IRC
History Declassified: The KGB and the Religious Underground in Soviet Ukraine
Closing Date for Applications: February 6, 2022
Department: Study of Religions / Future Humanities Institute
College: College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences
Position to be filled: March, 1 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter
Contract Type: Fixed Term Full-Time
Job Type: Research
Salary: €18,500 per annum + fees (maximum 4 years)
The PhD Fellowship Scheme
The PhD student will be located in the Study of Religions Department, which has vibrant postgraduate programmes in the study of religions and anthropology. The PhD will be co-supervised by the project’s Principal Investigator Dr Tatiana Vagramenko and the project’s Mentor Dr James Kapaló.
In addition to meeting the general UCC admissions requirements, applicants should submit:
– a motivation letter explaining how Applicant’s studies and research interests relate to the project aims;
– two letters of recommendation from two referees familiar with the Applicant’s postgraduate work.
Applications are welcomed from candidates with Master’s degree in anthropology, history, study of religions, political science or related disciplines. Fluency in Ukrainian and English (both written and spoken) is essential. Knowledge of qualitative methods (ethnography, observations, interviews) and digital humanities will be an advantage. The topic of the PhD research should fall within the broad thematic focus of the project and can address (but not limited to) the following research fields: the politics of religion in Ukraine, religious minorities (of Christian, Jewish and Muslim origins) in Ukraine, lived religion in Soviet and/or post-Soviet Ukraine, transitional justice and historical memory in Ukraine, religious dimension of the EuroMaidan conflict. The Doctoral Researcher is expected to conduct ethnographic field research and archival work in Ukraine. She/he will also participate in workshops and conferences, training sessions and other collaborative events as part of the project.
About the Project
Europe rests on the legacy of totalitarian regimes. Ukraine’s European integration has highlighted the significance of the historical experience of Soviet-era repression, regime surveillance and human rights violations for processes of democratization and pluralism in society today. The turmoil of the last decade, including the Euromaidan revolution and the ongoing Russian aggression, have led Ukraine to a profound reckoning with its recent past, which has included the opening of previously closed archives and a painful airing of the most traumatic legacies of the Soviet experience.
History Declassified: The KGB and the Religious Underground in Soviet Ukraine [HIDE] offers the first concentrated study of this process of transitional justice based on an innovative, in-depth reconsideration of recently declassified Soviet-era political police (KGB) archives in Ukraine focusing on the Soviet repression of religious minorities. The approach is explicitly interdisciplinary, combining methodologies drawn from the anthropology of religion, oral history, intelligence history and digital humanities. Recognizing the opening of previously classified archives as a critical element of transitional justice, the project focuses on the most sensitive issues in post-Cold war Europe: state control, the role of secret police surveillance and collaboration in shaping cultures of dissent, marginalization of minority communities and creative responses to power and domination of nonconformist groups. These issues are addressed through the re-contextualization of one of the most controversial historical sources in 20th century East Central Europe – the secret archives of the political police.
HIDE develops a novel perspective on religious-political dialogue in the Soviet context by focusing on the non-institutionalized negotiations that unfolded between state authorities and nonconformist religious groups (of Christian, Jewish and Muslim origins) that were denied official recognition and targeted by the Soviet secret police. The work pursues two inter-related thematic objectives: (1) To uncover the history of KGB secret operations, agent networks and the practices of agent penetration of the religious underground; and (2) To investigate the still largely hidden forms of agency that religious communities developed within the context of surveillance or forced collaboration with the secret police. The in-depth analysis and digitization of recently declassified KGB materials in Ukraine that represent central components of the project will be enhanced through a program of community-based ethnographic and oral history research.
Informal enquiries should be sent to Dr. Tatiana Vagramenko, Study of Religions Department,
University College Cork, Ireland; firstname.lastname@example.org