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Personal profile

Personal information

Katya Tolstaya (official name: Tolstoj) is Chair of Theology and Religion in Post-Trauma Societies and Vice-dean and Dean of Research at the Faculty of Religion and Theology (FRT), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Tolstaya is the founding Director of the Institute for the Academic Study of Eastern Christianity (INaSEC) at FRT and the Founding President of the International Association for Post-Soviet Theology and Study of Religion (PAST). Her main interest in research and valorisations is to establish the new field of an interdisciplinary and interreligious post-Soviet theology within the interdisciplinary landscape/scope of post-traumatic, post-totalitarian and post-genocidal studies. Her project Theology after Gulag is the first phase of this endeavour. Tolstaya has created a global network to support her in this ambition. Tolstaya obtained her MA (cum laude, 2000) and her PhD (cum laude, 2006) both at the Protestant Theological University (PThU), Kampen, The Netherlands.

Tolstaya is successful in fundraising and was, for example, a laureate of a prestigious NWO VENI Talent Scheme Innovational Research Incentives Humanities (2009-2012). As a Visiting Professor, she teaches in different post-Soviet countries, e.g. at Lev N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University, Astana, Kazakhstan, and the Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv, Ukraine. She was Visiting Researcher at the Karl Barth-Archiv, Basel (2009) and recently Visiting Fellow at Aleksanteri Institute, Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies, University of Helsinki (May-July 2017).

Research

Tolstaya’s initial research was dedicated to Western systematic theology, a.o. Barth and early dialectical theology, and literary studies, a.o. Dostoevsky and Bakhtin. For over a decade Tolstaya’s research focuses on the post-Soviet religious revival and the role of theology in public and societal engagement with the past. To promote the research field of post-Soviet theology she has established four international research networks: the project “Theology after Gulag” within INaSEC; a research group “Theology after Gulag” in the Netherlands School for Advanced Study of Theology and Religion (NOSTER); an NWO-Internationalisation in the Humanities network on the Russian Orthodox Church (2015-2018); and an interdisciplinary Working Group at the European Academy of Religion on "Negotiating the Soviet Past" (2018 - ). These projects engage over twenty academic, ecclesial and cultural institutions, and NGO’s, and over 100 committed international scholars and stakeholders working in post-Soviet studies, post-Holocaust theology, transitional justice, Gulag studies and further related fields who support her call for a rethinking of methodological and theoretical issues in the study of post-Soviet religion and theology. With her INaSEC-team Tolstaya devotes herself to a broad valorisation program, varying from (inter)national conferences and public lectures to exhibitions. 
For further information see 
www.in-a-sec.com.

Teaching

Prof Tolstaya has a passion for teaching. Her teaching covers post-traumatic, post-totalitarian and post-genocide theology, methodology in the study of religion, Christian systematic theology, academic skills, reading Classics in Theology and Religion, and religious topics in literature. As Dean of Research, she is dedicated to further development and implementation of the integral Talent Policy at FRT which will enable scouting, coaching and actively guiding talents from the first day in the bachelors until… well, actually until their retirement. The Talent Policy involves concretely:Honours Programme, Research Master, NWO PhD’s in Humanities class, and Research Design Graduate School.

Ancillary activities

  • Netherlands Institute in St Petersburg (NIP) | St Petersburg | Bestuurder | 2020-12-10 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Ancillary activities

Member Scientific Advisory Board, Netherlands Institute in Saint Petersburg (NIP)

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