Andrei Znamenski

Andrei Znamenski


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Ph.D., History, University of Toledo, 1997

Cand. Sc., History, St. Petersburg Herzen Pedagogical University, Russia, 1989

Fields of interest

Russia/Europe, Eurasia, Religion, Modernity, Socialism, Nationalism, Western Esotericism 

Broadly speaking, my research interests concern the history of religions and ideologies in modern time. Geographically, I am focused on Eurasia with an emphasis on Europe and Russia/Siberia. My earlier research dealt with religions and nationalities of Siberia and Inner Asia. Later, I developed the second theme of my interest, which is the history of Western Esotericism and counterculture; my 2007 book, The Beauty of the Primitive reflects this interest. In recent years, teaching courses on Russia/Soviet Union drew my attention to such theme as the history of Socialism and Communism, which led to the publication of Socialism as a Secular Creed: A Modern Global History (2021). I also serve on editorial advisory boards of such journals as Ante Portas (Poland), Siberica, Alaska History, and at the European University Press (St. Petersburg, Russia). 

Current research projects

Socialism: A History of a Secular Creed. This project is an ambitious attempt to explore the fate of the sacred in the age of modernity, when declining traditional religions became replaced or complemented by secular ideologies or what some scholars call political religions. Because Socialism, one of these ideologies, came to shape the identity of large groups of people in various countries, it attracted my attention, and I decided to examine it as a historian of religions and cultures. 

Courses taught

World History after 1500s, Modern Europe, Russia before 1917, Russia/Soviet Union after 1917, Nationalism since the 1790s, History of Socialism, European Historiography, History of Religions 

Representative publications


  • Socialism as a Secular Creed: A Modern Global History. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2021.
  • Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 2011 (French translation: Shambhala, le royaume rouge Magie et géopolitique au coeur de l'Asie. Paris: Camion Noir, 2015; Italian translation: Shambhala Rossa: Magia, profezia e geopolitica nel cuore dell'Asia. Rome: Settimo Sigillo, 2014). 
  • The Beauty of the Primitive: Indigenous Shamanism and Western Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Shamanism in Siberia: Russian Records of Indigenous Spirituality. Dordrecht: Kluwer/Springer, 2003.
  • Shamanism and Christianity: Native Encounters with Russian Orthodox Missions in Siberia and Alaska, 1820-1917. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.

Book Chapters:

  • "From Class to Culture: Ideological Landscapes of the Left Thought Collective in the West, 1950s–1980s," 337-354. In Proceedings of Topical Issues in International Political Geography, ed. In R. Bolgov. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2021.
  • "Towards the 'Ethic of Empire' on the Siberian Borderland: The Peculiar Case of the 'Rock People,' 1791-1878," 106-127. In Nicholas Breyfogle, Abby Schrader, and Willard Sunderland (eds.) Peopling the Russian Periphery: Borderland Colonization in Eurasian History. London and New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis, 2007.