Project Team


Principal Investigator: Dr. James Kapaló is Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religions at University College Cork, Ireland ( and co-Director of the Marginalised and Endangered Worldviews Study Centre (MEWSC – He has an MA in Central and Eastern European Studies from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), London and a PhD in the Study of Religions from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London. Drawing on anthropology, folklore and history, he works both ethnographically and with archival and museum collections to explore vernacular  knowledge, folk practices and local memory as a counterpoint to national romantic narratives that tend to wash over folk and local cultural meanings. He is author of Text, Context and Performance: Gagauz Folk Religion in Discourse and Practice (Leiden: Brill, 2008) and a forthcoming monograph Inochentism and Russian Orthodoxy (Routledge: London, 2018).


Postdoctoral Researcher: Dr. Kinga Povedák (PhD) studied European Ethnology and American Studies at the University of Szeged, Hungary. Her dissertation explores religious modernization through the phenomenon of popular Christian music among Catholics, focusing on and analyzing the peculiarities of vernacular religiosity during socialist times through the study of the origins of the movement in Hungary. Currently she is a postdoctoral researcher at the Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: Hidden Galleries in the Secret Police Archives in Central and Eastern Europe project (UCC, Ireland). She is research fellow at the Research Group for the Study of Religious Culture (Hungarian Academy of Sciences – University of Szeged). Her recent pulications explore vernacular religiosity during socialist Hungary, Christianity and popular culture, pentecostal charistmatic Christianity.

Postdoctoral Researcher: Dr Agnes Hesz has an MA in European Ethnology and English Literature and Linguistics from the University of Pécs. She received her PhD from the Interdisciplinary Doctorate School, European Ethnology – Cultural Anthropology Program, Universtity of Pécs in 2009. She has been working as a lecturer at the Department of European Ethnology – Cultural Anthropology, University of Pécs, since 2006, and was a post doctoral researcher in the ERC project Vernacular religion on the boundary of Eastern and Western Christianity: continuity, changes and interactions” (ID 324214) lead by Prof. Éva Pócs. Her main fields of research are the various forms of vernacular religion, from death related beliefs and practices to contemporary discourses on witchcraft, with a special interest in the local production of knowledge. She is the author of Élők, holtak és adósságok. A halottak szerepe egy erdélyi faluközösségben (The Dead, the Living, and their Debts. The Role of the Dead in a Village Community; Budapest: L’Harmattan 2012)


Postdoctoral Researcher: Dr. Anca Maria Șincan has an MA and a Ph.D. in history from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary with research on religion in communist Romania. She completed her academic training at Padova University, Oxford University, the European History Institute in Mainz, and New Europe College in Bucharest. Her research interests revolve around the recent history of East Central Europe, history of historical writing, memory and remembrance, church history, religion and politics on which she has published articles and book chapters. She took part as an expert in the Presidential Commission for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Romania for the chapter Church/religious denominations under communism. She has taught courses at the History and International Relations Department at Petru Maior University in Tîrgu-Mureș and lectured at the Political Science Department (Bucharest University). She was a guest lecturer at the Religious Studies Program and History Department at Central European University where she taught an MA course on Church and Nation State in East Central Europe. She is a researcher at the “Gheorghe Șincai” Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities of the Romanian Academy in Tîrgu-Mureș. Currently, she is a postdoctoral researcher on the European Research Council Project Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: Hidden Galleries in the Secret Police Archives in Central and Eastern Europe (Hidden Galleries).

Researcher: Dr. Igor Cașu is Lecturer and Director of the Center for the Study of Totalitarianism, State University of Moldova, Chișinău. He received his Ph.D. in History from Iaşi (Jassy) University (2000) and was Fulbright Scholar at Stanford University (February-August 2016). In 2010 he served as vice chairman of the Presidential Commission for the Study and Evaluation of the Communist Totalitarian Regime in the Republic of Moldova. His research interests include Soviet nationalities policy and political repressions, violence and resistance in Soviet Moldavia during Stalinism and after 1953. Among his recent publications are “The Fate of Stalinist Victims in Soviet Moldavia after 1953: Amnesty, Pardon and the Long Road to Rehabilitation”, in Kevin McDermott, Matthew Stibbe, eds., De-Stalinising Eastern Europe. The Rehabilitation of Stalin’s Victims, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 and The Class Enemy. Political Repressions, Violence and Resistance in Moldavian (A)SSR, 1924-1956, Chișinău: Cartier, 2015, 388 pp., with an introduction by Vladimir Tismaneanu (in Romanian).


PhD. Candidate: Iuliana Cindrea has an MA from The Department of History, Patrimony and Protestant Theology within “Lucian Blaga” University, Sibiu, Romania, with a dissertation entitled Psychiatry and Political Repression in Communist Romania (1965-1989). Her main research interests include the history of Romanian Neo-protestant communities and the manner in which they were perceived by the totalitarian regimes in the 20th century Romania, as well as the repressive mechanisms used towards these communities. To this effect, she has conducted research in the archives of the former Romanian secret police, the Securitate (CNSAS). She is currently a PhD Candidate  within the European Research Council Project, Creative Agency and Religious Minorities: Hidden Galleries in the Secret Police Archives in Central and Eastern Europe (Hidden Galleries), with a thesis entitled Hidden Galleries, Silenced Communities: Religious Minorities and the Secret Police in 20th Century Romania.


PhD. Candidate: Dumitru Lisnic holds a MA degree in History from “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iași, Romania. His MA thesis focused on the housing policy as a mechanism of state control and on repressive policies during late Stalinism in the city of Bălți (Soviet Moldavia, present day Republic of Moldova). He also participated in research projects focused on subjects such as collectivisation of agriculture under Communism, the Romanian POWs detained in NKVD camps, and conducted research on the local elites in post-war Moldavian SSR. Currently he is PhD candidate at the Department of the Study of Religions at UCC. His main research interests include the history of the Soviet Union and ethno-religious minorities in Eastern Europe. His PhD research at UCC is on materiality and creativity among Inochentists’ religious minority in the USSR between 1924 and 1991.