Aaron Michka, C.S.C.
Ph.D., University of Michigan (2021)
MSc., The University of Oxford, UK (2012)
M.Div., University of Notre Dame (2008)
B.A., University of Notre Dame (2004)
Research and Teaching Interests
Religion, Orthodox Christianity, pluralism, place and landscape, Egypt, the Middle East
Dr. Michka is a cultural anthropologist of religion and the Middle East. His work focuses on Coptic Christian communities in Egypt and, more broadly, on Orthodox Christianity. He is interested in the way Orthodox Christianity complicates and expands the anthropology of Christianity. His research examines how doctrinal and sectarian boundaries are established and continuously remade between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Christians, as well as how the sacraments offer a valuable framework for studying Christian life. These themes are developed in an article he recently published in the Journal of the Canadian Society for Coptic Studies.
Dr. Michka’s current book project approaches the politics of religious pluralism from the vantage of a Christian-majority town in Upper Egypt. Drawing upon eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, this project explores what it means to be Christian in Egypt in ways that respect the minority status of Copts without minoritizing them. Residents of this town experience an unusual degree of freedom from Muslim oversight and legal pressure, and they find this freedom to be liberating, generative, and unsettling. By following how Christian residents shape and transform the landscape of their town, this study aims to capture the lived experience of pluralism – both among different kinds of Christians, and between Christians and Muslims – that often eludes scholarly treatment of the subject.
A Catholic priest and a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, Dr. Michka brings the disciplines of anthropology and theology into engagement through his research and teaching. As a priest-in-residence in Siegfried Hall, he is also invested in the pastoral care of students. He was a residential fellow at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study during the 2020-21 academic year.