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Heather J. Sharkey

Heather J. Sharkey

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The Scherer Lecture 2012

Speaker: Dr. Heather J. Sharkey

Title: "Egypt and the Two Sudans: Christian and Muslim Neighbors in a New Era of Nation-Building"

When: Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, 4:00 p.m.

Where: Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 East 55th Street, Common Room (350)

European and North American missionaries working along the length of the Nile Valley, from the Mediterranean city of Alexandria to the Sudan’s southern border in the 20th century gained few converts. Yet they exerted far-reaching and diverse influences on Nile Valley societies by opening the first modern schools, promoting the engagement of women in religious and public life, stimulating new forms of Muslim oppositional activism, and, in southern Sudan, sowing seeds for future mass conversions.

Dr. Heather J. Sharkey will trace these influences as they persist today, in the aftermath of Egypt’s Arab Spring and the break-up of Sudan following the South’s secession.  She will consider how Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Copts have articulated and asserted their Christian identities and will assess prospects for Christian-Muslim relations at a time when religious sectarianism carries a political charge in Egypt, Sudan, and South Sudan.

Dr. Heather J. Sharkey is an associate professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Living with Colonialism: Nationalism and Culture in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (University of California Press, 2003) and  American Evangelicals in Egypt: Missionary Encounters in an Age of Empire (Princeton University Press, 2008).  With Mehmet Ali Dogan, she edited American Missionaries and the Middle East: Foundational Encounters (University of Utah Press, 2011). She is writing a history of the social relations between Muslims, Christians and Jews in the modern Middle East. Dr. Sharkey holds  degrees from Yale, Durham (UK), and Princeton. She has taught at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, MIT, and Trinity College (Connecticut). 

A reception follows the lecture.


This annual lecture is funded through the Eleanor and Arnold Scherer Endowment Fund.

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