Jonathan Liebman

Jonathan is a senior at Princeton University originally from Vermont, USA. His research interests focuses on the intersection of law, international relations, and global governance.

For my contribution to the PORDIR research colloquium, I am studying the intersection between religion and political legitimation in post-Soviet and post-Communist Eastern Europe, particularly vis-a-vis Hungary, Poland, and Russia. Investigating the nexus of identity, legitimacy, and religion in this space is important for several reasons. First, studying on the resurgence of religion in "post-atheist" societies may shed light on the role of religion in (re)generating national identity after political transitions. Further, understanding how these regimes wield religion as a means of increasing political legitimacy has implications bearing on the stability of these increasingly--and indeed avowedly--illiberal nations and the degree to which they represent a genuine ideological competitor to the ideals of secular liberal democracy preeminent in the West. Accordingly, by studying state mediation and intervention in the religious sphere (in terms of policy, political discourse, and the like) my paper will present a newfound understanding of the complex ties among church, state and society  at Europe's ideological and political frontier.