Church and the Russian University:  In clear contrast to Soviet times, The Russian Orthodox Church is playing an increasingly greater role in Russian education (and other aspects of public life), including establishment of theology programs at more than 30 secular state universities. “Of course there are many problems in the relations between church and society, church and the state, but this is a subject for expert dialogue that includes academia as well,” Sergey Roshchin, vice rector and professor at the Higher School of Economics, told The New York Times this week.

Fundamentalism as a result of secularization, not an expression of tradition: Olivier Roy writes for the World Policy Institute‘s Faith issue (Winter 2011/2012) that, “Believers and secularists alike are losing their common culture. And the more visible and vocal fundamentalists are, the less they represent the society where their movement began.”

Keep an eye on Alex Thurston’s Sahel Blog!  A new contributor to The Revealer, Thurston is a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern’s Religion Department, currently doing research in Nigeria.  So far he’s written two pieces for us, today’s “Shifting Politics in the World’s Newest Nation” on South Sudan and early December’s “After the Referendum: Sudan Negotiates National and Religious Identity in the North.”  Both were edited by our brilliant 2011/2012 Henry R. Luce Fellow, Nora Connor.

Former Revealer managing editor Kathryn Joyce has a new article at The Atlantic, “How Ethiopia’s Adoption Industry Dupes Families and Bullies Activists.”  She writes, “Media investigations have found evidence that adoption agencies had recruited children from intact families.”

Thanks to a lingering hatred for Communism, American right-leaning Christians continue to claim Vaclav Havel, the poet, playwright and former leader of the Czech Republic who died this month, as one of their own.

The most significant Chinese political event of 2011: Dissent speaks with Beijing-based Israeli journalist Rachel Beitare about the current protests in Wukan.  They began as a dispute over property rights.

Getting arms around the cult of Kim Jong Il proves a challenging task for Canadian conservative National Post, blaming his popularity on the “Juche ideology (an eccentric offshoot of Marxism that was created by Kim’s father).”  Jonathan Kay, failing to note who “you” is, writes, “Simply put, people need gods. And if you take away the ones they were born with, you need to supply an alternative – even if that alternative is as bizarre and perverse as a chubby, dissolute mass murderer in a ridiculous beige leisure suit.”