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Department of Social Anthropology



I did my PhD in the study of religions at the University of Pardubice, Czech Republic (2018). After internships at Ghent University, Belgium, and the University of Amsterdam, I got a postdoctoral position, and since 2021, I have been a junior researcher at the Institute of Ethnology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague. In my research, I focus on the alternative spiritualities and new religious movements combining perspectives of anthropology and the history of religion.

I conducted fieldwork among modern Pagans in Belgium, Ireland, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic during my doctoral research between 2014–2017. My research focuses on a notion of beliefs in modern Paganism. I reconsider a common-place narrative that modern Paganism is a religion without doctrines and what matters instead is practice. I argue that in specific situations of conflicts or pressure, or while delineating boundaries and gatekeeping modern Paganism against other religions, beliefs become enforced and turn into doctrinally-laded statements. These statements follow the original Christian notion of true and false religion. Now, I am revising my dissertation into a scholarly monograph, From False Religion to Contemporary Paganism, which examines the influence of Christian thought on modern Paganism and the new religious movement in general.

My next research project focuses on the overlaps between esotericism and politics in central Europe.


Peer reviewed Articles:

2022 Pavel Horák. “‘If the Base Fundamentals Are Too Much for You…’: Reconsidering the Existence of Doctrines in Modern Paganism” Nova Religio: Journal of Emergent and Alternative Religions, vol. 26, no. 2 (November). (forthcoming).

2021 Fárek, Martin and Horák, Pavel. "Magic between Europe and India: On Mantras, Coercion of Gods, and the Limits of Current Debates" Religions 12, no. 2: 87.

2020 Pavel Horák. “Who is, and Who Is Not a Pagan? Struggles in Defining Contemporary Paganism”. The Pomegranate: International Journal of Pagan Studies, vol. 22, no. 2. pp. 125–145.

2017 Pavel Horák. “The Image of Paganism in the British Romanticism”. Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies vol. 19, no. 2. pp. 141-65.                                

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