Professor of Religion
Chair, 2015 - 2016
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Vera Shevzov joined the Smith College faculty in 1994. She earned her B.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Yale University. Supported at various stages by the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the National Endowment of the Humanities and the Social Science Research Council, her research has focused on issues related to the notions of sacred community and collective religious identity; lived Christianity; women in Christianity; Christianity and visual culture; Christianity and historical memory; as well as Christianity and ethnic and national identities.
The geographic area of Shevzov's research—Russia—is a region where "East" and "West" have historically met (and sometimes collided). Her book Russian Orthodoxy on the Eve of Revolution (Oxford, 2004) was awarded the Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize of the American Society of Church History. Her most recent publications include: "Women on the Fault-Lines of Faith: Pussy Riot and the Insider/Outsider Challenge to Post-Soviet Orthodoxy" in Religion and Gender, 4:2 (2014); "The Struggle for the Sacred: Russian Orthodox Thinking about Miracles in a Modern Age" in Rethinking Russian Religious Thought, edited by Judith Deutsch Kornblatt and Patrick Lally Michelson (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014); and "The Burdens of Tradition: Orthodox Constructions of the West in Russia (late 19th-early 20th cc.)" in Orthodox Constructions of the West, edited by George Demacopolous and Aristotle Papanikolaou (Fordham University Press, 2013). She is currently writing a book on the image of Mary in modern and contemporary Russia as well as various essays that address religion and post-Soviet Russia's culture wars.
Shevzov teaches courses in Christian studies and regularly participates in team-taught departmental courses on world religions, women and religion, and approaches to the study of religion. She is also a member of the Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies and contributes regularly to its course offerings.