Caroline Dunbar received her BA in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies and Religion from Smith College in May 2020, graduating cum laude, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and with highest honors in the Department of Religion. Her departmental honors thesis, “Ecclesiastical Reform and Church-and-State Relations in Ukraine (1917-1930),” analyzed efforts to establish an autocephalous (self-governing and independent) Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the context of Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox reform initiatives and secular political upheaval.
In April 2020, Dunbar was offered a historical research grant to Kyiv, Ukraine through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. The objective of her project, “Tracing Cultural Identity in the Wake of a Newly Independent Orthodox Church,” was to synthesize archival research on Soviet anti-religious policy and oral histories to contextualize and examine the cultural impact of the 2019 establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).
Dunbar’s research interests broadly include church-and-state relations in twentieth-century and post-Soviet Ukraine and Russia, Soviet anti-religious policy, and the historical role of Eastern Orthodoxy in the development of Ukrainian cultural identities.