Shuttling back and forth across sites of transnational migration between Egypt and the United States, this talk examines how American religious imaginaries of global Christian persecution have remapped Coptic collective memory of martyrdom. It argues that the commingling of American conservative and Coptic theopolitical subjectivities and practices has shaped a new kind of Christian kinship in blood—operating through a double movement between glorification and racialization.
Candace Lukasik is an Assistant Professor of Religion and Anthropology at Mississippi State University and a former postdoctoral research associate at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. She earned her PhD in sociocultural anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her research focuses on the intersections of transnational migration, religion, race, and empire. Her first book Martyrs and Migrants: Blood and the Politics of Persecution (under contract with New York University Press, part of the North American Religions series) examines the everyday processes and practices that shape transnational Coptic communal formation and belonging as it interfaces with the tension between their minority status in Egypt and their racial-religious placement within an American Christian conservative landscape. Her work on Middle Eastern Christianity, migration, and U.S. empire has received support from the American Association of University Women, the American Academy of Religion, the Social Science Research Council, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion in International Affairs, the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, the Louisville Institute, the Fetzer Institute, the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of California, Berkeley, and Columbia University, among others.