Mercer Provost Dr. Wallace Daniel traveled to Russia last week to deliver an invited presentation at the Library of Foreign Literature in conjunction with the kick-off event for a yearlong celebration of one of Russia’s most highly regarded public intellectuals, Aleksandr Men’. Dr. Daniel, a Russia historian and expert on civil society in Russia, has studied the country throughout his academic career and delivered a paper, titled “Aleksandr Men’ and the Conflict Between Freedom and Power,” on Jan. 21 in the Great Hall of the library, where Men’ gave many of his public lectures.
Men’ was a parish priest in the Russian Orthodox Church and developed a large and devoted following both before and after his murder on Sept. 9, 1990. Men’ remains one of the most influential figures in the intellectual life of Russia with more than 6 million of his books in print. Dr. Daniel is currently working on an intellectual biography of Men’ and has published several recent papers on him.
“I was really honored to have been invited to speak at this event,” Dr. Daniel said. “Aleksandr Men’ is a significant figure in Russia who provided a sense of hope and possibility and openness in a country that hasn’t always generated hopefulness. He’s not that well known in this country, but I hope that he will be.”
Dr. Daniel’s more recent publications include The Orthodox Church and Civil Society in Russia (2006). Dr. Daniel was also co-editor of Perspectives on Church-State Relations in Russia (2008). His articles on intellectual and social history, as well as on church and state issues, are published in Russian Review (in English and Russian), The Slavonic and East European Review, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Demokratizatsiya, and Journal of Church and State, and many other publications.
Dr. Daniel received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in Russia. On three occasions Daniel has received Fulbright-Hays Fellowships to Russia and the former Soviet Union.