Geopolitics and Religion(s): Neglected Topics in the Current World Crisis

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2024 | Viewed by 363

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Department of International Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33146, USA
Interests: religion and state; ethnic conflict and civil wars; international relations; post-Soviet studies; and nationalism

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Guest Editor
Department of Political Science, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431-0991, USA
Interests: theory of International Relations; post-Soviet studies and Religion; Civilizations and Culture in World Affairs; non-western approaches to world affairs in addition to pedagogy and the use of IT in education on International Studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Religions and geopolitics conjoined have moved to the center stage of today's dangerous world. Many narratives describe this process, analyzing the state of the world, including (but not limited to) the current Ukraine–Russia war and its broader ramifications. We have reviewed much of the relevant literature.

In the era of recognizing the need to include all narratives in the spirit of the new "Global IR" ISA section (, in this Religions Special Issue, we want to explore the range of narratives of geopolitics and religion, as they come from different parts of the world but are often not included in but filtered out of the Western dialogue of today's uncertain world.

We refer just to two examples we might miss:

First, it might be argued that Putin does not speak the language of "Eurocentric" or "West-centric" IR discipline, but in a hybrid narrative of his kind of geopolitics and orthodox religion, on a "holy" mission to save western Christianity from its dramatic decline and decadence and a loss of fundamental Christian values. In this regard, he draws inspiration from his close ally Moscow Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (it could be, of course, argued that a common goal of despots, not merely in post-Cold War politics, is to co-opt the church. While Putin has led the way via a longstanding strategic alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church, a similar dynamic is at work in other emerging powers—including China, India, and Brazil—whose current leaders have all found political and geopolitical utility in religion for their geopolitical goals). Geopolitically speaking, Putin sees Russia as the heart of the geopolitical vision of "Eurasia," among others drawing on the Russian geopolitics scholar Aleksandr Dugin's 1997 “The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia”.

Second, whether it is just a façade, in contrast to the unified Western support for Ukraine and denunciation of Putin's imperialist war, Putin's stance seems to appeal to a growing coalition of BRICS countries, their religions hostile to each other but anti-American and anti-Western, joined surprisingly by Iran and Saudi Arabia, with a long list of future "applicants." Despite their different religions, they seem to share the geopolitical view that the today's international order is skewed by its narrow ahistorical west-centric filter. Instead, they see a post-Western changed world, described by many authors, e.g., Brazilian–German Olivier Stuenkel's 2016 book “Post-Western World: How Emerging Powers are Remaking Global Order”.

We are pleased to invite you to consider the above or other examples of the effort to go beyond the so-far predominant view of religion as merely a "soft power" (Haynes) to "sharp" or "smart", as indicated in the pioneering work of Peter Mandeville, towards a new generation of scholarship on religion and geopolitics, i.e., beyond the geopolitics of religious soft power; towards "Religious Renaissance" (in the work of Russian scholars).

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Interpretations of the theme of this issue by scholars from different parts of the world are particularly welcome. 

Research areas may include (but not limited to) the following:

  • Conceptualizing religion beyond soft power in geopolitics;
  • The role of religion(s) in the historical evolution and contemporary development of geopolitics;
  • Area studies and the scholarly debate on religion(s) and geopolitics;
  • Theoretical milestones and empirical evidence at the nexus between religion(s) and geopolitics;
  • Religion(s) and geopolitics: what is next?

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 200-300 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send it to the Guest Editors, Prof. Vendulka Kubalkova ([email protected]) and Dr. Renat Shaykhutdinov ([email protected]), or to the Assistant Editor of Religions, Ms. Margaret Liu ([email protected]). Abstracts will be reviewed by the Guest Editors for the purpose of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer review.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Deadline for abstract submissions: 31 July 2023
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2023

Prof. Dr. Vendulka Kubalkova
Dr. Renat Shaykhutdinov
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • beyond religion as soft power only
  • religion(s) and geopolitics
  • against west-and Euro-centrism
  • international political theology and geopolitics
  • the ‘holy’ and ‘mundane’ in world politics
  • competing and complementary narratives in religion and geopolitics
  • strategic narratives in international relations (IR) sharp and smart power in IR, BRICS

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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