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Thinking Allowed: Traditionalism and Russian Orthodox Converts

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BBC, January 2024

Laurie Taylor talks to Mark Sedgwick, Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at Aarhus University, about the radical project for restoring sacred order. Traditionalism is founded on ancient teachings that, its followers argue, have been handed down from time immemorial and which must be defended from modernity. How has this mystical doctrine come to have contemporary sway on the political right, inspiring ex President Trump’s former chief strategist, as well as the Russian philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, sometimes dubbed as “Putin’s brain”?

They’re joined by Sarah Riccardi-Swartz, Assistant Professor of Religion and Anthropology at Northeastern University, Boston, who has uncovered an extraordinary story of religious conversion in one corner of Appalachia. Here, a group of American citizens has embraced the Russian Orthodox Church and through it Putin’s New Russia. They look to Russian religion and politics for answers to Western secularism and the loss of traditional family values.

Listen at BBC.

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