Candace Lukasik | Ecumenism of Blood: Islamophobia and the Geopolitics of MENA Christians

Lecture | April 25 | 1-2 p.m. | 340 Stephens Hall

 Center for Middle Eastern Studies

This talk unpacks the ways Copts, as a community of Middle Eastern Christians in the United States, are caught at the nexus of American evangelical moral imaginaries and the racialization of Muslims in a post-9/11 context. Increasing international media attention on Copts and Islamic State affiliate attacks on Coptic places of worship and pilgrimage in Egypt are connected to and predated by American evangelical moral imaginaries of the “Persecuted Church,” a global phenomenon which emphasizes that Christians are being persecuted around the world more than any other time in history. The “Persecuted Church” has connected global Christian communities beyond theological difference, building on various (Western) ecumenical efforts of the twentieth century. While Copts have been configured as the exemplary victims, or martyrs, of Islamic terrorism, in the U.S., it has proved challenging for Copts to be recognized as such in their daily interactions. This talk tracks this paradox of the Copt as both the Christian exemplar and the “misrecognized” Muslim Other in post 9/11 America.

Candace Lukasik is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at UC Berkeley, and this Fall she will be a Dissertation Completion Fellow in Coptic Orthodox Studies, funded by the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University. Her work focuses on secularism, migration, religious violence, and Middle Eastern Christians, and her dissertation project explores the transnational circulation of political subjectivities and religious practices through the lens of Coptic Orthodox Christian emigration from Egypt to the United States. For this work, she has received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the Louisville Institute for the Study of American Religion, the Institute of International Studies (UC Berkeley), and The Center for Middle Eastern Studies (UC Berkeley).