When you heard the protest songs and saw the signs in the streets, and looked at how public space transformed, it became apparent that the archive was everywhere and its mediums were diverse. So ultimately my draw to history was living through histor(ies) in the making and thinking about what historians of the future would write about these moments. One of the most exciting things about studying modern Coptic history is that there is so much that has yet to be written about it.
Writing from a Toronto suburb, this as an account of what I have seen. I ask for critical reflection on the world we are perpetually in the process of creating and I beg contemplation as to how we wish to be remembered by future generations.
The Coptic Church has survived through centuries of difficulty in great part because of its ability to adapt. Should its clerical leadership devise alternate means of administering the Eucharist, its own rich past shows how this rite has changed over time and how different approaches might protect the health of clergy, parishioners, and community without compromising its core beliefs.
A dear teacher, Maged Atiya was reposed to the Lord on March 1st, 2020. It was our sincere and heartfelt pleasure to know you, to hear you speak and to read your thoughtful prose as you recounted with nuance the social history of a Coptic people in diaspora. You will be missed.
At the heart of such debates, past and present, is the tremendous influence of Pope Shenouda and the many meanings of belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt. In order to chart this history and offer insights on its contemporary significance, we begin with the challenges faced by early Copts in North America and then outline the changing nature of Coptic diasporic communities as a consequence of rising immigration from Upper Egypt, following the 2011 revolution.
How did you get started in the discipline of anthropology? What drew you to your research topic? In 2010, I joined the American University in Cairo and majored in political science. The 2011 uprising erupted in my second year, which was also when I took my first anthropology course. I liked its approach because it … Continue reading Interview with Mina Ibrahim: Coptic Misfits
As a modern Egypt scholar, I aim to empower Copts as actors in their own narratives rather than subjects within geopolitical discourse. I write to normalize Copts’ Egyptianness, without placing them in a separate category as a ‘minority’.
How did you get started in the discipline of Anthropology? What drew you to your research topic? I believe as scholars, we are drawn to questions that are built up over a lifetime. Such questions that move us are, in many ways, a genealogy of ourselves and our life experiences. I first visited Egypt in … Continue reading Interview with Candace Lukasik: Transnational Anxieties
In many places like Los Angeles, California and Toronto, Canada, Coptic churches have greatly thrived, with cathedral size churches coming up within close drives of one another. In these contexts, churches are sometimes literally framed as pieces of heaven on earth.
In an effort to support our colleagues researching Copts across disciplines, we have generated a list of archives in the United States and Egypt that are open to scholars. This general overview in no way claims to be an exhaustive list of archival repositories on modern Coptic history, but rather an introduction to some significant collections for researchers interested in consulting primary sources.