Current Institutional Affiliation
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2017
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of California / Berkeley
Transnational Anxieties: Shaping a Minority Community between Egypt and the United States

In the wake of the Arab Spring, different communities throughout the Middle East have sought refuge outside of the region, particularly in Europe and the US. Emigration, especially among Coptic Christians, to the US increased dramatically after the uprisings of 2011 and coup of 2013 in Egypt. This doctoral research explores (1) how shifting social, political, and economic conditions in Egypt since 2011 have led to increased immigration to the US, (2) how the Coptic Orthodox Church has reconstituted itself, religiously, in light of this increased immigration, and (3) how Coptic communities have reconstituted their inter-faith relations with Muslims in the US and how that has affected inter-faith relations in Egypt. Tensions between Christians and Muslims in Egypt are jointly being influenced by anti-Muslim discourses in the American context. The Copts are significant for ethnographic study on migration and transnationalism given their increased migration out of Egypt to the US since 2011 and their lived experiences between Coptic communities in Egypt and those more established in the US. For fieldwork, I focus on three main arenas in Egypt and the US in which Copts and the Church negotiate these new social, religious, and political conditions: 1) the theological, social, and cultural education of youth, 2) service trips and clerical engagement between Egypt and the US, and 3) Coptic political activism. By studying the transnational effects of the Arab Spring through the lens of Coptic migration post-2011, my research seeks to bring together scholarships on diaspora, religion, citizenship, and minority that shape Coptic communities both in Egypt and the US.