PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
Denver, CO
November 17-20, 2018

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Middle Eastern Christianity Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit is devoted to the study of developments within Coptic, Armenian, Chaldean/Assyrian, Syrian, Maronite, and other relevant communities living inside the Middle East or in lands of immigration. The Unit promotes scholarship on themes from the early Christian period to the present, encompassing various approaches and subjects. Its aim is to establish an interdisciplinary platform for fostering scholarly approaches to Middle Eastern Christianity, and to provide opportunities for scholars to discuss their work in relation to the overall field of the study of religion.

Call for Papers: 

We invite papers on the following topics:

• Rethinking Middle Eastern Christians in the 21st Century: Movements, Migrations, and the Future
Many Middle Eastern countries have faced political stress in the twenty-first century, which has included the Iraq War (2003), the Arab Spring (post-2010), the Syrian Civil War (since 2011), and the ongoing struggle of Palestinians against occupation. Middle Eastern Christian communities with long historical roots in the region are adapting to the circumstances in new ways; the circumstances of warfare, social reform, and political change are faced by Christian communities with new technologies of social media, connecting them to international participants of many sorts, such that local matters involve remote agents. In these globalized conditions, Christian communities of the Middle East and their emigrant counterparts abroad are experiencing change.

The Middle Eastern Christianity Unit and the World Christianity Unit are inviting paper proposals that address contemporary change involving Middle Eastern Christians. Proposals may focus on any Middle Eastern Christian community (whether in situ, or abroad) from any academic field of study. Successful proposals will provide a clear thesis, identify specific sources of study, and comment on the relevant theories and methodologies of the analysis. While the topic of the paper may be narrow, the argument should aim to capture a sense of a broader current “outlook” among an identifiable Middle Eastern Christian group or groups—whether it be a church denomination (e.g., Maronites), an organization (e.g., Middle East Council of Churches), an immigrant community, or a social movement.

• Religious Conversions and Middle Eastern Christianity
Religious conversion has been a topic of interest in Middle Eastern Christianity since the rise of Islam. Hagiographies, heresiographies, polemics, apologetics, martyrdoms: many genres of religious literature in the Middle East have cast conversion narratives in different moulds. And modern scholarship has sought to explain and analyze conversion, seeking to answer historical questions about demographics (for instance) to try to chart the diminishment of Middle Eastern Christian communities under Islamic civilization. The Middle Eastern Christianity unit is issuing a call for papers that analyze religious conversion of all sorts involving Middle Eastern Christians, whether it be individuals or groups, converting into our out of the faith, in all historical periods. Paper proposals must state a clear thesis, identify a specific body of evidence, and explain the theoretical and methodological approaches that are used to interpret the evidence. The committee particularly welcomes proposals of theoretical relevance that build upon existing studies (such as, e.g. Richard Bulliet’s) and that seek to explain broader trends or phenomena of conversion in Middle Eastern Christianity.

E-mail with Attachment (proposal is in attachment, not in body of e-mail)
Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members
ChairSteering Committee