Sean Griffin

Postdoctoral Fellow, Society of Fellows

Sean Griffin is a historian, philologist, and religious theorist, specializing in the most ancient and most recent periods of Russian civilization. His research is interdisciplinary and brings together fields as diverse as medieval religion and new media theory, Byzantine liturgy and Russian Alaska, the history of philology and post-Soviet digital culture.

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In his first book, Memory Eternal: The Liturgical Past in Byzantium and Early Rus (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming), Griffin uncovers the liturgical origins of Slavic historiography and shows that the myth of origins for Rus, a myth promulgated even today by the Russian Orthodox church, originated in the religious services of the Byzantine Empire.

Griffin is currently at work on two new projects. In the first, he is a collaborating with Randall Balmer on a documentary film and related monograph, provisionally entitled Russian Orthodoxy in Alaska: Old World Faith in the New World. The book recounts the history of the monks and merchants who made the arduous journey across Siberia and the Bering Sea in order to colonize and evangelize the Alaskan frontier.

Griffin’s other work-in-progress is a treatment of post-Soviet political propaganda: Is All News Fake News? Politics, Media, and Religion in Putin’s Russia. In this study, Griffin examines a wide range of Russian new media, from YouTube videos and on-line Orthodox church services to major sports broadcasts and the 24-hour news cycle. He reconstructs this alternative narrative reality for an Anglophone audience and considers the nature of truth and political identity in the digital age.

Griffin earned his Ph.D. from UCLA. He was most recently a VolkswagenStiftung fellow at Westfälische Wilhems-Universität in Münster, Germany, and before that he spent time as a visiting professor at Stanford University.

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Reed Hall, room 211A
HB 6085