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Candace Lukasik

Assistant Professor of Religion, Mississippi State University
RSDR Fellow

Candace Lukasik is a sociocultural anthropologist of transnational migration, Indigeneity, violence, and memory who draws on ethnographic and archival methods between the Middle East and the United States. She is an AAUW American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellow and affiliate faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Her first book, Martyrs and Migrants: Coptic Christians and the Persecution Politics of US Empire (under contract with New York University Press), examines how American theopolitical imaginaries of global Christian persecution have remapped Coptic collective memory of martyrdom in migration.

Her research and teaching have received support from the American Academy of Religion, the Social Science Research Council, the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion in International Affairs, the Louisville Institute, the Wabash Center, and the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University, among others. Her scholarship has appeared in American Anthropologist, the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the International Journal of Middle East Studies, the Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Middle East Critique, the Journal of Orthodox Christian Studies and edited volumes with the University of North Carolina Press and Rutgers University Press.

Featured Work: “Affective Un/Belonging: The Coptic Diaspora and Imperial Geographies of Islam”; “Economy of Blood: The Persecuted Church and the Racialization of American Copts”

Upcoming Projects: Threading her methodological grounding in multiscalar and multimodal ethnography, Dr. Lukasik’s second book project, Somewhere Else: Political Ecologies and Indigenous Sovereignty in Global Assyria, explores the transnational politics of global Indigeneity in the aftermath of war and ecological disaster. Drawing on fieldwork between Assyrian villages in northern Iraq and the Assyrian diaspora in Detroit, the project traces how mass violence and climate change after war shape movements of Indigenous communities and inflect upon collective memory and transnational political mobilization. In their claims to Indigeneity and demand for reparation, Assyrians have formed international solidarity networks with Indigenous Peoples in North America to emphasize their sovereignty and to cement their kin. These decolonial narratives of community frame diasporic humanitarian efforts and aid strategies that oscillate between the American Christian gaze and Assyrian Indigeneity.