Elena V. Kravchenko

Lecturer in Religious Studies
PhD, University of Texas at Austin
research interests:
  • Religion and Material Culture
  • Diasporic Religion / Trans-Atlantic Christianity / Orthodox Christianity in the United States
  • Embodiment, Agency and Subjectivity in the Study of Religion
  • Religion, Gender, Race and Ethnicity

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Campus Box 1065
  • One Brookings Drive
  • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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Dr. Kravchenko's research and teaching interests includes theory and methods in Religious Studies (including material culture) as well as diasporic religion, trans-Atlantic Christianity and Orthodox Christianity in the United States.

Kravchenko's current research is a continuation from her dissertation, Orthodox Women in America: The Making of a Liberal-Conservative Subject. Her multi-lingual, multi-site, three-year ethnographic study explored the religious lives of contemporary Russian immigrant women in the United States and American women who convert to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. This fall she presented two papers at the annual American Academy of Religion conference. The first was titled, "Protestants and Iconography in the United States: Of Commodities and Social Reform." The second was titled "To be Black and Orthodox: African Saints and Reconfiguration of Religion and Race."

She teaches the required courses for the Religious Studies major and major: Thinking About Religion, an introductory course that explores questions such as “what is religion and how can we study it?” and Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion, an advanced course which continues exploring the question, “What is religion?” by considering classic and contemporary theories in Religious Studies. She also teaches a variety of courses on religion such as: Religion in the Kitchen; Religion, Transnationalism and Diaspora; Global Christianities; and Material Religion.

Dr. Kravchenko serves as the faculty advisor for Theta Alpha Kappa, the National Honor Society in Religious Studies and Theology and works with senior majors to prepare for the annual senior symposium.

Current Research

Sensing “Western Modernity”: American Protestants and the Powerful Presence of the Eastern Orthodox Icons

Selected Publications

"Becoming Eastern Orthodox in Diaspora: Materializing Orthodox Russia and Holy Rus’." Religion 48:1, 37-63.

"Icon of Mary," An Online Journal of the Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion, 2014. http://mavcor.yale.edu/conversations/object-narratives/icon-mary