Lecture Series & Graduate Student Workshop on Vernacular Religion
István Povedák is a research fellow at MTA-SZTE Research Group for the Study of Religious Culture in Szegad, Hungary. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies as a specialist in vernacular religion.
Povedák is pursuing a project comparing celebrity images of Hungarian Romani and Afro-American heroes and stars. He has studied history, ethnology and religious studies at the University of Szeged, Hungary and holds a Ph.D. from ELTE University, Budapest for his dissertation "Heroes and Celebrities." He is interested in the contemporary cult of heroes and celebrities, vernacular religiosity and the mingling of neonationalism-Christianity-neopaganism.
He has numerous articles on these topics, including "Heroes and Celebrities in Central and Eastern Europe: Álhősök, hamis istenek? Hős-és sztárkultusz a posztmodern korban" [Pseudo-Heroes, Fake Gods? The Cult of Heroes and Celebrities in Postmodernity] and "Sámán sámán hátán. A kortárs pogányság multidiszciplináris vizsgálata" [Shaman on Shaman's Back. The Multidisciplinary Analysis of Contemporary Paganism]. Povedák is the head of the Ethnology of Religion Working Group of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore. He hes been a guest lecturer at the Latvia University in Riga, University of Debrecen (Hungary) and University of Freiburg (Germany).
During the past decade, there has been a significant transformation in the way that certain Hungarian subcultures relate to their national consciousness. Beginning with the spread of some alternative historians' ideas on the mysterious origin of Hungarian people, numerous concepts connecting to neonationalism have appeared and gained increasing popularity. These concepts can be found not only in politics but in almost all segments of culture, from vernacular religion to festivals, from popular arts and music to the reinterpretation of historical heroes.