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
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. 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.
- Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christianity in the Midst of Catastrophes (co-sponsored with Eastern Orthodox Studies)
The study of religion has long been concerned with the relationship between the global and the local, the specific and the universal. Global disruption and catastrophes, past and present, bring these relationships to the fore in particularly urgent and dramatic ways. In the spirit of the 2022 AAR Presidential Theme- Religion and Catastrophe- this session is interested in proposals that address the lived reality of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christianity in the midst of catastrophes, past or present. This session will consider how mass disruption and hardship affect the core elements of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox religious identity, hoping to shed light on the local and experiential reverberations of global cataclysmic forces within an Orthodox Christian context. The session is interested in papers that analyze these lived realities from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives (including political science, sociology and anthropology, history, theology, etc. ), with a special interest in the ways that COVID-19 or other contemporary and historical crises have affected the liturgy and the ways liturgical practice has responded to catastrophes.
- Middle Eastern Christianity, Materiality, and Communal Identity
The Middle Eastern Christianity unit invites paper proposals addressing the theme of materiality and communal identity, particularly on the question of how the different Middle Eastern Christian groups use(d), incorporate(d), and espouse(d) materials (e.g. texts, objects, sacred spaces, etc.) from the religious other non-apologetically. Papers addressing the roles these materials play in constructing communal identity are particularly welcome as they are applied to Middle Eastern Christians in any of their communities throughout history or in the contemporary era, whether in their native lands, or in the diaspora.
Statement of Purpose
Steering Committee Members
Erik Estrada, Texas Christian University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Amy Fallas, University of California, Santa Barbara1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Candace Lukasik, Washington University, St. Louis1/1/2020 - 12/31/2025
Monica Mitri, University of Southern California1/1/2021 - 12/31/2026
Christopher Sheklian, Radboud University1/1/2022 - 12/31/2027
Mark Swanson, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago1/1/2017 - 12/31/2022