UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Paula Borowska

Paula Borowska

Supervisor: Prof Titus Hjelm and Prof Andrew Wilson

Present status: PhD candidate

Working title of thesis: Religion and social change: civic engagement of Protestants in Belarus

Research:  In this project, I look at the ways in which Protestant communities can promote or inhibit social change in the Belarusian society. My research focuses on the congregational life and how it affects the views, values and, attitudes of individual members as well as whether this can lead to their civic engagement. Although the political context remains salient, this study focuses mainly on a social dimension of the activity of Protestants.

While being on a multi-sited field work in Belarus, I conducted face-to-face in-depth interviews and engaged with participant observation. I attended the Sunday services, congregation’s social events as well as often carried out ordinary activities with locals.

Belarus has remained widely uncovered in academic literature of the sociology and anthropology of religion, in particular, social dynamics involving Protestant minorities. This will help putting the religious tendencies in the Belarusian society in a broader global context. Also, while many recent studies on the globalisation of Protestantism focus largely on converts, this research aims at including both those “born into” and “who converted”, thus filling in a research gap.

Modules taught: Researching Politics and Society (2019)

I served as a tutor with the Brilliant Club (2018) and taught at London-based schools about the ways in which religion can contribute to social capital.


Borowska, P. (2017).  Sozial engagiert, öffentlich unsichtbar – Freikirchen in Belarus. Religion und Gesellshaft in Ost und West, 11, pp. 27-29.

Borowska, P. (2017). Atheist Secularism and its Discontents. A Comparative Study of Religion and Communism in Eurasia. Europe-Asia Studies, 69(6), pp. 992–93 (book review).

Borowska, P. (2015). Religion and Politics in Post-Socialist Central and Southeastern Europe since 1989. Europe-Asia Studies,  67(7), pp.1159-61 (book review).

Borowska, P. (2015). The Media in Transitional Democracies. Europe-Asia Studies,  67(1), pp.155-57 (book review).

Borowska, P. (2014). Religious Diversity in Post-Soviet Society. Ethnographies of Catholic Hegemony and the New Pluralism in Lithuania. Europe-Asia Studies, 66(7), pp.1190-91 (book review).

Selected articles on Belarus Digest:

“Religion in Belarus – from Orthodoxy to Protestantism?” available at:


“Religious freedom in Belarus: worse than in Ukraine, better than in Russia” available at:


“Belarus’ Three Independence Days” available at:


Research interests: Religion, social capital, social change, civil society.

PhD Blog: borowska.net

Twitter: @borowska_by

Email address: paula.borowska.17@ucl.ac.uk