Social Science Research Council Research AMP Mediawell

Miray Philips

Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
RSDR Fellow

Miray Philips is an assistant professor in sociology at the University of Toronto. Her research explores the transnational politics, meaning, and memory of violence and suffering, specifically at the intersection of religion and human rights. Her current book project explores contested claims making about religious differences, focusing on Christians in the Middle East. Her collaborative projects explore representations and memories of mass violence, particularly in Universal Jurisdiction trials against Syrian regime officials. She is a qualitative scholar with a regional interest in the Middle East and North Africa and its diasporas. Committed to bridging the gap between academia and policy, Dr. Philips has consulted for the United Nations on counterterrorism and human rights, taught civil-society actors in Egypt about minority rights, and sits on the board of advisors for the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington, DC. Philips received her PhD in sociology from the University of Minnesota. She was born in Egypt, was raised in Kuwait, lived in the United States, and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.

Featured Work: “‘We Love Martyrdom, but We Also Love Life’: Coptic Cultural Trauma between Martyrdom and Rights”; “Christians in Egypt: Transformations in Representational Authority and Narratives of Belonging,” in In the Eye of the Storm: Middle Eastern Christians in the Twenty-First Century

Upcoming Projects: Dr. Philips’s book Debating Religious Difference explores the geopolitics of defining religious difference in the context of the global war on terror. Specifically, she focuses on contested claims making on behalf of Christians in the Middle East by religious-freedom advocates in Washington, DC. Based on transnational fieldwork between Egypt, Kuwait, and the United States, she explores how competing actors jostle to define the plight of Christians in the Middle East, bound by global tensions between national security and terrorism. This project received support from the Social Science Research Council, the Louisville Institute, the University of Notre Dame, the Center for Arab American Philanthropy, and the University of Minnesota.