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Ethnoreligiosity in the Former Yugoslav Context

Event Sponsor
CREEES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies
Encina Commons 123

When ethnonational myths infiltrate religious institutions and become integral to their worldview, the community of believers undergoes an ideological transformation. Sekulić introduced ethnoreligiosity into theological discussion to describe this phenomenon, which is prominently observed in the former Yugoslav regions but manifests in specific other global contexts. In this sense, religious institutions may still appear to gather people based on religious beliefs, but in reality, they primarily operate according to ethnonationalistic principles. Exploring the intricacies of ethnoreligiosity, its mechanisms, and why understanding the relationship between ethnonationalism and religion in the former Yugoslav context is incomplete without considering this phenomenon will be the focus of this lecture.

Branko Sekulić obtained his doctoral degree at the Faculty of Protestant Theology at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Germany (2020), where he has been a post-doctoral researcher (since 2021). He is a lecturer at the University Center for Protestant Theology “Matthias Flacius Illyricus” in Zagreb (since 2017), president of the Institute for Theology and Politics (since 2023), director of the Academy for Theology and Politics (since 2023), coordinator of the theological program of the Festival of Alternatives and the Left in his hometown of Šibenik (since 2014), and a fellow at the Stanford’s Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (2024). He recently published The Veils of Christian Delusion, Lanham MD: Lexington Books/Fortress Press, 2022; “Towards the Balkan Theology of Political Liberation”, Political Theology Network, September 2023; “The Theology of the Ethnocultural Empathic Turn: Towards the Balkan Theology of Political Liberation”, Religions 2024, 15, 191.; “Eyes Wide Shut – Orthodoxy and Democracy in Serbian Theology and Thought”, in Pantelis Kalatzaidis – Hans-Peter Großhans (eds.), Politics, Society, and Culture in Orthodox Theology in a Global Age, Paderborn: Ferdinand Schoeningh, 2022, and “Theology in the Spirit of Palanka: Catechism of Croatian Catholic and Serbian Orthodox Ethnonationalist Imaginaria”, in Stipe Odak – Zoran Grozdanov (eds.), Balkan Contextual Theology: An Introduction, London-New York: Routledge, 2022.