Events / Updates

It’s Not a “Copt-Out”: Anthropology, Positionality, and Ethnography among Coptic Christians in Egypt and the United States

Joey YoussefFrom its beginning, socio-cultural anthropology was founded on ethnographic fieldwork. Often described as “going native,” anthropologists are expected to immerse themselves in the society they are investigating, by embracing the cultures, rituals, and traditions of their interlocutors, and living among them. A question that has emerged within anthropology over the last twenty-years or so, has challenged this form of methodology within the discipline: What if the anthropologist is “the native?” This paper explores what has broadly been referred to as “insider anthropology,” an anthropologist’s immersion in ethnographic fieldwork while also being an insider or “native” of a particular social group or society.” What are the challenges? What is at stake for the insider anthropologist? Are insider anthropologists “less critical” than outsider anthropologists who “go native?” Through my own research on Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt and California, this paper seeks to address these questions and unpack common perceptions and misperceptions of insider anthropology.

Joseph Youssef, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto

Join us in the Ethnography Lab Seminar Room, located in the Anthropology Building, room 330, on Friday, April 8th from 5-6pm for stimulating discussion.

This series is FREE and OPEN to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Contact Jessika Tremblay at for more information.

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