“Entangled History” and the Religious Quotidian in the USSR
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“Entangled History” and the Religious Quotidian in the USSR
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Gregory Freeze 
Affiliation: Brandeis University
Address: USA, Waltham

The October Revolution brought a systematic disestablishment of institutional religion, and that in turn meant an end to the collection of rich data that had been so systematically collected under the ancien régime. For the ensuing decades of Soviet rule most of the available documentation stems from the party, state, and police organs; this provides a good record on official confessional policy, but sheds little light on religious life of believers. The new approach of “entangled histories” provides one way to broaden the source base through the study of documents in confessional archives abroad. The project to tap Catholic archives in Europe and the United States takes into account processes of globalization, the latter’s cultural and religious dimension, the need to historicize, and the impact of reflexivity on exogenous sources. All that is reflected in the first transnational Catholic press, embodied in the Catholic News Agency that actively solicited information from countries around the world and, despite all hurdles, managed to have its own correspondent inside the Soviet Union. Precisely because of the de-institutionalization of religion, the agency gave particular attention to believers and the resilience of piety in the face of antireligious campaigns.

entangled histories, primary sources, everyday religion, Catholic press
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