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Accepted Paper:

Somewhere Else: Difference and Indigenous Sovereignty in Global Assyria  
Candace Lukasik

Paper Short Abstract:

How is indigenous sovereignty shaped as connectivity—to land, to diasporic scales of rootedness, and to imperial refusal?

Paper Abstract:

Contextualized by the rise of ISIS, their targeting of Iraq's Christian communities, and the Assyrian diasporic response to such attacks in the United States, this paper asks: How is indigenous rootedness in northern Iraq (espoused by transnational Assyrians) shot through secular mediations of ecclesial forms of kinship and contextualized by colonial legacies and imperial presents?

The ecclesiastical divisions among Christian communities—Chaldean, Syriac, Assyrian—in and beyond Iraq are not simply an illegible theological divide. Instead, ecclesiastical division should also be re-conceptualized through the colonial context—of missionary work, imperial conquest, and campaigns of genocide—that divided a community across modern national borders and fractured their claims to land and resources. Partially, this logic not only argues that the study of the secular is relevant here—in demarcating Christian universality from indigenous particularism—but that in tracing the shadows of secularity in the geopolitics of concern over Middle Eastern Christian suffering, we may be better able to parse a decolonial approach to the intersections of Christianity and indigeneity in the Middle East, that exceeds Western, neo-colonial instrumentalization. In so doing, this paper does not answering the question of who is indigenous—as recognized by the state, but instead asks the question of how indigeneity is shaped as connectivity—to land, to diasporic scales of rootedness, and to imperial refusal.

Panel P204
Roots and their undoing: ethnographies of connection and dislocation
  Session 1 Wednesday 24 July, 2024, -