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O'Connell Initiative

O’Connell Initiative on the Global History of Capitalism

The O’Connell Initiative for the Global History of Capitalism is a forum for intellectual exploration. It brings together scholars of every aspect of capitalism, from its earliest medieval manifestations to its twenty-first-century consequences across the globe. It supports groundbreaking research and teaching on global capitalism and engages with the public through lectures, debates, and workshops.

The O’Connell Initiative in the Global History of Capitalism is supported by generous gifts from Fordham alumnus Robert J. O’Connell, FCRH '65.


Please join us at the Fordham University Lincoln Center Campus, South Lounge, for an O'Connell Initiative Event with Dr. Victoria Smolkin (Wesleyan University) on Thursday, February 27th at 5pm, when she will be speaking from her recent book A Sacred Space Is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism (Princeton UP, 2019) which is the first history of Soviet atheism from the 1917 revolution to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Drawing on a wealth of archival material and in-depth interviews with those who were on the front lines of Communist ideological campaigns, Dr. Smolkin argues that to understand the Soviet experiment, we must make sense of Soviet atheism. Smolkin shows how atheism was reimagined as an alternative cosmology with its own set of positive beliefs, practices, and spiritual commitments. A Sacred Space is Never Empty explores the meaning of atheism for religious life, for Communist ideology, and for Soviet politics.