photo of Patrick Michelson

Look for my edited volume

Read my article from Modern Intellectual History

Read my article from “Freedom of Conscience and the Limits of the Liberal Solovyov”

Find my complete cv here.

Patrick Michelson

Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies

Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of History

Sycamore Hall 333


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 2007

Research Interests

Professional Biography

I am an intellectual historian of Russian Orthodox thought and, more broadly, modern Christian thought on the European Continent. My principal work explores the many intersections among Russian Orthodox theology, the discursive and ideological traditions of Russia’s educated society, church-state relations in a multi-confessional empire, and the creation of normative categories during the Church’s Synodal period (1721–1917). My initial research in this field of study concentrated on the development of religious liberty as a discourse among liberation movements in Russia’s late imperial period (1825–1905). My current book project concentrates on the ascetic revolution in Russian Orthodox thought (1843–1917) as a response to Russia’s own monastic revival in the nineteenth century, the challenges of intelligentsia radicalism to religious consciousness, advancements in the social and theological sciences, and the psychological and cultural demands of modernity.

In an historiographical sense, my research seeks to complicate many of the familiar narratives that inform our understanding of Russian Orthodox thinkers and institutions, including the very notion of Orthodox as a stable category of analysis, and bring the study of Russian Orthodox thought into conversation with the study of modern Russian history and culture. Grounded in the methods of contextual analysis, my work challenges the standard approaches to the study of Russian Orthodox thought, most of which are determined by a variety of theological, confessional, even ideological agendas that elide contingency, paradox, and historicity. These interests in historiography, method, and history are reflected in the courses I teach at Indiana University, which range from the history of Religious Studies as a discipline to the history of Russian Orthodox thought in an age of empire and revolution.


Courses Recently Taught

Publication Highlights

Co-editor with Judith Deutsch Kornblatt, Thinking Orthodox in Modern Russia: Culture, History, Context (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2014).

“Freedom of Conscience and the Limits of the Liberal Solovyov,” Solov’evskie isseldovaniia [Solovyov Studies] 41, no. 1 (2014), 25-46.

Peer-review article: “Slavophile Religious Thought and the Dilemma of Russian Modernity, 1830–1860,” Modern Intellectual History 7:2 (2010), 239-67.

Review article: Laura Engelstein, "Slavophile Empire: Imperial Russia’s Illiberal Path" Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009), for The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review 38 (2011), 65-74.

Translation: Sergei Horujy, “The Origins of Russian Philosophical Humanism: The Dispute between Slavophiles and Westernizers,” in G. M. Hamburg and Randall A. Poole, eds., The History of Russian Philosophy: Faith, Reason, and the Defense of Human Dignity, 1830–1930 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 27-51.



Back to People main page >