Year of Publication
Arts and Sciences
John Paul Jones III
Susan M. Roberts
This dissertation examines identity formation among evangelical Protestants in contemporary Ukraine. The overarching question is this: how do Ukrainian evangelicals view themselves and their churches in the context of Ukrainian regionalism, Ukrainian nationalism, and religious transnationalism? This question demands a closer look at Ukrainian regional variation, the status of Ukrainian national identity among evangelical practitioners, and the process of religious transnationalism, including how evangelicals perceive the West. This project is primarily based on qualitative research methods carried out over a ten month period. Field methods included participant observation, focus group interviews, and individual interviews. A set of maps produced by research subjects is also evaluated. In order to permit a regional comparison, case study churches were selected in four Ukrainian cities. Before beginning the field research it was hypothesized that Baptists, those evangelicals whose religious roots date to the nineteenth century and who survived the Soviet Union, would have different perspectives on many of the research questions than members of churches founded recently by American missionaries. To test this assumption, one Baptist church and one new evangelical church were selected in each of the four cities. Among Ukrainian evangelicals, regionalism is closely related to language preference and to notions of national identity. Members of churches in Lviv are strong supporters of Ukrainian-only language practices; members of churches in other parts of the country identify themselves as Russian speakers who dislike the exclusive language policies in western Ukraine. Study participants generally rejected a Ukrainian nationalism that was connected to religion, although members of new Protestant churches incorporated aspects of civic nationalism into their religious practice. In terms of their participation in a transnational religious network, all churches (both older Baptist and newer evangelical) were highly integrated with people, ideas, and money from the West. However, evangelicals views towards the West and their own identities as transnational actors were correlated to church type. Members of older Baptist churches were much more critical of Western churches and missionaries than were members of new evangelical congregations.
Long, Esther Grace, "IDENTITY IN EVANGELICAL UKRAINE: NEGOTIATING REGIONALISM, NATIONALISM, AND TRANSNATIONALISM" (2005). University of Kentucky Doctoral Dissertations. 358.