This essay attends to contemporary Oriental Orthodox solidarity as a postcolonial condition and to the possibilities of communal belonging along different planes of theopolitical intelligibility. Oriental Orthodox debates around what I call the "social hierarchy of theological truth" are mired in colonial histories of civilizational order and the production of the collective experience of Byzantine and Islamic subjugation. The project of making Oriental Orthodox experience visible in the contemporary moment as perennial persecution and perpetual subjugation hinders analysis of the workings of this neo-imperial system that utilizes certain narratives of Oriental Orthodox while precluding the collective's historicity and its enmeshment in other radical frameworks of solidarity. I argue that contemporary Oriental Orthodox experience must be historicized as a means to understand the operations of the complex and changing discursive processes by which such an identity is ascribed, debated, or embraced. By historicizing the identity that such a process has produced, I ethnographically trace how such processes are unmarked in the everyday interactions of Oriental Orthodox in the United States—in the ways history, theology, and collective memory are debated and politicized in the present.


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pp. 484-517
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