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.
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Middle Eastern Christianity Unit
Call for Proposals for November Meeting
The Middle Eastern Christianity unit welcomes proposals on the following topics from all academic fields of study (sociology, ethnography, history, theology, literary theory, ritual studies, etc.) as they are applied to Middle Eastern Christians in any of their communities throughout history, whether in their native lands, or as immigrants throughout the world.
Successful proposals must present a clear thesis, explain the theoretical and methodological approaches of the research, and identify a specific body of evidence that the research will interpret. Please make good use of the allowed word count to submit a well developed proposal. The Middle Eastern Christianity Unit encourages and promotes the inclusion of all scholarly voices and invites proposals from scholars of all ethnic/national backgrounds, genders, professional ranks, disciplinary perspectives, and life circumstances.
A growing number of Christian theologians in the Middle East have deployed liberation theology as a means of understanding their fraught political, social, and economic contexts across the region. We invite contributions addressing the strengths and difficulties in such theological engagement and engaging specific social, political, and economic contexts in the region. Proposals from scholars and theologians of/from the Middle East are especially encouraged. This will be the second of two sessions the Middle Eastern Christianity Unit is sponsoring this year focusing on Middle Eastern theologies, the first being held virtually in June. Panelists are encouraged, but not required, to attend the virtual session to attend especially to the theological work being produced by Middle Eastern-based scholars for whom travel to the US in November may be difficult.
How do we teach about the Middle East?
The Middle Eastern Christianity unit invites proposals for a round-table discussion answering the question: How do we, as scholars of religion, teach about the Middle East? This question recalls the deep historical roots of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions in the region and the contemporary diversity of those communities. This question is also pressing in light of the Israel-Hamas war and the requests for information that many of us are receiving from other scholars, students, and members of our broader communities. What pedagogical approaches should we consider for courses focusing specifically on the Middle East, for courses that can only touch briefly on the region, or for other venues in which we may be asked to teach about the Middle East? What resources are available – including textbooks, audio/visual sources, and digital tools – for teaching and understanding the region and its religious communities?
Middle Eastern Christianity and the Politics of Archeology
The Middle Eastern Christianity unit invites paper proposals on Middle Eastern Christianity and the politics of archaeology in the region. The panel aims to explore the multifaceted dynamics of violence and destructive acts on material culture, particularly in the context of manuscripts, the manuscript trade, and cultural heritage management. We encourage submissions that delve into historical, sociopolitical, and theological perspectives, offering critical insights into how these elements intersect with the preservation and destruction of cultural heritage.
Call for Proposals for Online June Meeting
Theologies of Liberation and Contextual Theologies from the Middle East
A growing number of Christian theologians in the Middle East have deployed liberation theology, contextual theology, and other theologies of liberation as a means of understanding their fraught political, social, and economic contexts across the region. We invite contributions from such theologians based in the Middle East to share their engagements with theology to challenge and reconsider current conditions of oppression and injustice. Proposals addressing the strengths and difficulties in such theological engagement and engaging specific social, political, and economic contexts in the region are especially encouraged. This is the first of two sessions the Middle Eastern Christianity Unit is sponsoring this year focusing on Middle Easter theologies, the second being held at the in-person conference in November.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Eric DeVilliers, University of Notre Dame1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Reyhan Durmaz, University of Pennsylvania1/1/2023 - 12/31/2028
Erik Estrada, Texas Christian University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Amy Fallas, University of California, Santa Barbara1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Candace Lukasik, Mississippi State University1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Monica Mitri, University of Southern California1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Christopher Sheklian, Radboud University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027