Religiöse Kulturen im Europa des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts




Dissertationsprojekt: The history of scientific atheism. A comparative study of Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union (1953-1989)

The main goal of the project is to investigate so called scientific atheism and trace its development in two presumably ideologically monolithic socialist countries. An emphasis will not be put on the explanation of the failures but rather on the inner workings of the newly developed set of theoretical concepts and social practices which can be encompassed under the term scientific atheism. In other words, the main purpose of the project is not to answer the question why did scientific atheism fail but rather how did it work. The other principal research question is, in what ways did the theory, practice and reception of scientific atheism differ in both countries.

Finding answers to these questions will increase our understanding of the power of ideology in the socialist countries as well as its limits because scientific atheism was by contemporary party ideologues considered to be one of the principal tools with the help of which could have been raised the new socialist man.

The main research interests can be divided into three fields. The first field of research will encompass an expert discourse, which was produced by professional scientific atheists. The second field of research will put under scrutiny the institutional development and administrative practice, whose goal was to disperse the ideas of scientific atheism in the society. Finally, an examination of the forms of reception of scientific atheism will be investigated.