Project Reports

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
Department for the Study of Religions (The Faculty of Philosophy)
Youth Association for the Study of Religions
Association for the Study of Esoterisim and Mysticism
European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism

Announce an open competition of research papers for students, graduate students, young and independent scholars for participation in the
Religious Studies School
“Western Esotericism and Spiritualism in the 19th - 21th Centuries”
to take place on July 1-7, 2017, in Kyiv, Ukraine

Theme: the school will focus on the development of Western esotericism in the 19th - 21th centuries, as well as on the methodologies currently used in the humanities for the study of Western esotericism.

Form: the school will include lectures by key scholars of Western esotericism, presentations by school participants and meetings with representatives of contemporary esoteric organizations.

How to apply: the applicant needs to fill out an online form before April 15, 2017. 20 applicants will be selected for the school, wherein they will be able to present their papers. The organizators will cover living and food costs, while traveling costs must be paid by the participant him or herself. The participation fee is 50$.

Proposed topics:
1. Methodologies for the study of esotericism in Western and Eastern Europe.
2. Occultism, Martinism and irregular Freemasonry.
3. Magical orders and the 19th century occult revival.
4. Alchemical and neo-Pythagorean explorations.
5. Orientalist esoterical movements.
6. Neo-Paganism in a post-Christian world.
7. New Age as an antithesis to secularism.
8. Traditionalism.

School working languages: English (main), Ukrainian, Russian

Applications accepted until April 15, 2017. Results will be announced on May 1, 2017.

For all questions concerning the summer school, please e-mail Ruslan Halikov at either of the following addresses: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Essays on Religious Studies stands out as both a clear sign of a significant growth of interest towards religion and religious education in Ukrainian society and a reflection of a much debatable question of the presence of religion in state schools.
Much attention is drawn to the fourth volume of the Essays on Religious Studies, firstly because of the acclaimed specialists that constitute the editorial board, and secondly because of the well-structured composition of the journal, which contains the following sections: Theoretical
Issues of Religious Education, Religious Education in Europe, Confessional Education, Translation, Archive, Reviews and list of theses on religious education.
The theoretical section has doubtlessly earned its respect. It is represented by F. Kozyrev's article The Notion of Religious Education and Its Pedagogical Interpretation. Professor Kozyrev is a renowned expert in the field of religious education, has a PhD in pedagogy, currently the director of the Institute of Religious Pedagogy at the Russian Christian Academy of Humanities. In his article F. Kozyrev considers the international integration of the local (Russian) system of education, the effective ways of incorporation of the religious element into the compulsory secondary education, and the adoption of foreign terminology by Russian pedagogy, which is currently crucial to Ukraine as well. F. Kozyrev justifies the validity of the conceptual apparatus of pedagogy, thus bringing it into compliance with international standards.
The articles by Y. Reshetnikov, V. Kozhuharov, L. Vladychenko, S. Karassyova and E. Shkurova, K. Nikiforov, presented in the second section of the journal Religious Education in Europe are dedicated to the study of Ukrainian and European implementation of the subjects of spiritual and moral development in state schools, religious education in Poland, Byelorussia, and activities of international NGO's in the field.
We consider Valentyn Kozhuharov's article to be of major interest. He focuses predominantly on the activities of the Inter-European Commission on Church and School, a non-government organization, which actively deals with problems of the role of religion in education and society, relations between church and state educational system. The article by V. Kozhuharov introduces the work of ICCS and other similar organizations, its structure, history, current challenges and future plans. I deeply agree with the author on his statement that the inclusion of Eastern European and, in particular Ukrainian, experts on religious education will bring mutual benefits to both sides.
The third section Confessional Education contains articles by V. Krishmarel, Y. Chornoivan, D. Brylov. The study conducted by V. Krishmarel explores catholic educational institutions in Ukraine; the article by Y. Chornoivan dwells upon the Baha'i experience in education and upbringing of the new generation. The Baha'i Faith is one of the young religions, which has quickly gained the status of a world religion and attracts followers thanks to its well organized and prosocial activity all around the world, as well as in Ukraine, where it was registered by the State Committee on Religions in 1999, and has a region wide structure with its head office in Kyiv. In his article D. Brylov touches upon the issues of the Muslim education, its models, analyses the sources of conflict between different Muslim groups, different educational systems and different interpretations of Islam.
A true gem of the current issue is the translation of Wanda Alberts' article The Academic Study of Religions and Integrative Religious Education in Europe, published in the British Journal of Religious Education in 2010. Wanda Alberts is an Associate Professor in the Department of Archeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion at the University of Bergen, Norway. Articles of the sort familiarize Ukrainian education community with contemporary research by leading world scholars. It should be noted that the teachers and scholars in Ukraine have limited access to European experience, even to articles, which has its objective (mainly financial) and subjective (poor knowledge of foreign languages) reasons. Hence a solution to the problem is found through publishing of translations (the same applies to the section Reviews).
There is an interesting and informative article in the section Archive authored by A. Krymskyj. It dynamically narrates in a rather lively manner about an old scholastic Muslim university in Cairo.
Placed at the very end of the journal, the list of theses on religious education guides young religious studies scholars and theologians through a variety of existing research, problematic issues and challenges of the contemporary religious education.
I'd like to draw your particular attention to the journal's requirements for articles. They slightly differ from those of the Ukrainian Commission for Certification, since the YASR editorial board is looking towards the opportunities of entering foreign science-specific databases, which should allow Ukrainian scholars get involved and become acclaimed in the international academic and educational community. I also recommend the journal's website, where a reader can access current and archive information. I wish both the Essays on Religious Studies journal and its editorial board best of luck and I'm looking forward for the next volume!

Y. Polyakova, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Germanic Philology at the Makiivka University of Economics and Humanities

Original items.

June 23-30, 2011

The Second Judaic International Youth School was a logical continuation of the Judaic International Youth School conducted in 2010. The members of the Youth Association for the Study of Religions are convinced that there is an essential need for Ukrainian religious studies scholars to pay more attention to one of the world oldest religious traditions. The purpose of the School was to grant academic knowledge about Jewish history, philosophy, religion etc. to the school participants (undergraduate and postgraduate students and young teachers); to give them possibilities to fulfill and discuss their research in the field of Jewish Studies; to overcome a prejudiced and stereotyped image of Judaism and Jews by giving the school participants objective knowledge, which they will transfer to their students in their further professional activities.
The outcomes of the School are new skills, which the participants learned conducting research in the field. They met with representatives of the Jewish community of Bukovyna, interviewed them and learned about the oral history of the Jewish people in the region, especially they were interested in the transformation of the observance of Jewish traditions after the Second World War and the state of the art in the Jewish religious community.
The Second Judaic International Youth School gathered about 20 students and young teachers, who enriched their knowledge in Jewish Studies. This will help them in their future activity, to give objective information about Jews and Jewish religion to Ukrainian, Polish, Russian students of different universities. Some students discovered for them a new field of scientific research. At least 4 participants of the School will proceed with writing papers on Jewish studies. One of the coordinators of the School enrolled in the Jewish Studies Program of the Center for Jewish Studies at the Chernivtsi National University. The proceedings of the School will be published and distributed in many cities of Ukraine and other European countries.
Because of the fact, that the School was organized first of all for the students and young teachers, they were the target group, there were distributed the questionnaires, and the participants evaluated the quality of all the events, including the lectures and interactive classes (from max 10 points lectures and interactive classes were evaluated for 9.1 and 9.3 respectively).
The Youth Association for the Study of Religions is proud of organizing Religious Studies Schools on high professional level, attracting highly qualified specialists to give lectures, making available the new knowledge on different religions to many undergraduate and graduate students. The Second Judaic International Youth School has proved that young scholars of religion are highly interested in studying objective information Judaism, filling the blanks of Ukrainian religious studies education.

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jud-school2010On July 6-18, 2010, Kyiv and Uman hosted the International Youth Religion Studies School in Jewish Studies, organized by the Youth Association of Religion Scholars and the Interdisciplinary Certificate Program in Jewish Studies of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. 30 students, postgraduates, and young scholars from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Latvia took part in the school, after having been previously selected on a competitive basis.
The school took place through the financial aid of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress and other professional and charity institutions, mostly of Jewish origin – in particular, the Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund.
The participants were given Jewish Studies lectures by famous scholars in the field, participated in creative workshops and a beit-midrash, visited synagogues, the Jewish Studies fund of the National Library of Ukraine, the Sholom-Aleichem museum, and, of course, had a tour of the Jewish Podil. Every participant had the opportunity to present his or her entry into the competition to enter the school, and to share his or her finds with colleagues.
A special highlight was the visit to Uman, the world-famous Hasidism center and pilgrimage goal for the Bratslav Hasidim. Uman prepared a program for its visitors that was no less involved than the program in Kyiv, and included lectures, a workshop, tours, and a quiz game.
Overall, this school gave a great boost to the formation of professional ties between students and teachers of Judaism and Jewish studies in the CIS, and was the first of its kind in Ukraine, with more quite probably to come.

Vitaliy Chernoivanenko,
project co-leader

Original article
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