Book Project in Progress
Tentatively titled Ordinary Copts: Ecumenism, Activism, and Belonging in North American Cities, 1954-1992, this is a study of the departure, journey, settlement, and institutionalization of Coptic Orthodox Christians in an era of post-colonial nativism in Egypt and rising pluralism in Canada and the United States. The largest Christian minority in the Middle East, Copts are central to how we understand modern Egypt in global perspective. As Egypt contended with anxieties occasioned by modernity and urbanization and grappled with issues surrounding independence, identity, and Islamic revival, a wave of antipathy toward any group considered ‘foreign’ or ‘other’ spread through society prompting many to emigrate. Copts who settled in central Canada and the northeastern United States went on to promote a Christian universalism. To contest racialization as Middle Eastern immigrants, they insisted on their Christian heritage to show commonality with the dominant culture of their receiving society.