I joined King’s in 2006, after receiving a PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where I also taught and did research. Earlier in my life, I taught History at a Moscow School of Arts, and even had a stint as its headmaster. The fascinating changes immediately before and after the fall of the Soviet Union reinforced my interest in the social scientific study of religion, which remains my abiding interest (alongside theatre and music!).
I am particularly interested in origins and consequences of religious innovation across religious traditions in a variety of contexts, and my current focus is on religious minorities and religiously motivated ‘radicalisation’ in Russia and Western Europe, and on the new trends in the Russian Christian Orthodoxy and Islam.
- The sociology of religion, with special reference to religious change, minorities, and new religious movements in global perspective
- State management and everyday expressions of religious diversity in different social and political contexts
- Religion in Russia, in particular as shaping and is shaped by changing individual life-worlds, social relations, and politics – both domestic and international
- Radical expressions of religion (‘radicalisation’) at the individual, group, and state levels and the possibility of de-radicalising strategies
- Religion and identity in relation to personal faith, ethnicity and nationhood.
Religion in the Remaking of Russia, Hurst and Co + Oxford UP (2016, forthcoming) Demystifying the Caliphate: historical memory and contemporary contexts, New York City: Oxford University, and London: Hurst and Co (with M. Al-Rasheed and C. Kersten)
“Reconsidering Radicalisation and Terrorism: the New Muslims Movement in Kabardino-Balkaria and Its Path to Violence”, Journal of Religion, State, and Society, Vol. 39, No 2/3, June – September 2011, pp. 89 – 113, with Akhmet Yarlykapov
“The Caliphate in the Minds and Practice of Northern Caucasian Muslims”, in Demystifying the Caliphate, M. Al-Rasheed, C. Kersten & Marat Shterin, (eds.),New York City: Oxford University Press and Hurst and Co: London, 2013, pp. 247 – 271
“New Religions in Changing Russia: opportunities and challenges”, in Olav Hammer and Michael Rotstein (eds.), Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp. 286-302
- Introduction to the Sociology of Religion
- Religion in Social and Political Context: Sociological Perspectives
- New Religious Movements in Global Perspective
- Religion in Contemporary Society: advanced sociological theory and method
- World Religions and Modernity: sociological perspectives
- Contemporary Religious Movements: appeal, commitment, controversies, and public policies
I would be happy to discuss proposals on a variety of topics and issues beyond my own thematic and geographical locus, providing potential applicants are interested in working within social scientific perspectives.
For more details, please see his full research profile.
Expertise and public engagement
- I have appeared in numerous interviews with the mass media (BBC World Service and Radio Four, CNN, Sky News, etc.) on a variety of topics, ranging from ‘radicalisation’, secularism, and faith-motivated violence to religion and politics in Russia and Ukraine. I am happy to continue my engagement with the media on a broad range of issues of religion, society, and politics
- I have participated in leading roles in many public panels on religion and society, such as Westminster Faith and Society debates, where I was a speaker on Religion and Radicalisation
- I have provided consultancy and talks for civil service, NGOs, law companies and other public bodies. These ranged from expert conclusions on particular religious groups to my recent talk on Religion and the Fall of the Soviet Union for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.