ACRS Alumnus Nikoloz Aleksidze
I found out about the SRS when I arrived in Budapest and we could choose specializations. I did not deliberate too much over what specialization to choose as I was always interested in theology and religious studies, especially in the interaction of religion and political thought.
My thesis was about the seventh century Monoenergist and Monothelite controversies and its repercussions in the Caucasian region. I tried to reconstruct the biography of one of the initiators of the controversy, Kyros of Alexandria. I was trying to demonstrate that the theological position that Kyros waspromoting could shed light on his biography. I am interested in the interaction of politics, memory politics and theology and the formation of ethnic and religious identities. I believe that this topic was a perfect opportunity to get acquainted with the subject.
I enjoyed the seminars, because I had the opportunity to read texts and discuss topics, which I would otherwise never approach due to my rather specific topic. I liked the interdisciplinary approach offered at the seminars. I believe that I am still benefiting from the experience in my current research.
Most of my interests lie in religious studies and in historical interaction between religion and political thought. Initially I was interested in early Christian studies but now I also work in secularization and deseculrization in contemporary Caucasus. My future project is a study of the cult of Saints in the Middle Ages and the reevaluation of the cult of saints in the mid nineteenth century nation formation and how contemporary Orthodoxy uses and often abuses the idea of sainthood to reach its political aims. As a result of the training I received at CEU, I am able to competently teach relevant courses and be involved in various interdisciplinary projects.
After graduating, I started doctoral studies at the University of Oxford, where I received the Dulverton and Michael Wills Scholarship. During past four years I participated in many conferences in various European countries. Apart from my studies I participated and organized other events and projects in Oxford. I have contributed to the Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity and also worked for the Bodleian Library where I digitized the Georgian manuscripts and helped create an electronic catalogue. I have also co-organized various seminars in Caucasian studies at the Oriental Institute.