Claremont Graduate University
School of Arts and Humanities
Religions of North America Program
and the Council for Coptic Studies
cordially invite you to a public lecture on
Assimilation and Heritage Identity:
Lessons from the Coptic Diaspora
Professor Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff
George Washington University
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
12:00 pm Lecture
School of Arts and Humanities, IAC Library
831 N. Dartmouth Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
Abstract – Many first generation immigrants share a concern for retaining their heritage culture, though still aspire to successfully assimilate into the country of residence society. Assimilation theories suggest facilitating factors for positive assimilation but differ in terms of whether the loss of heritage culture is inevitable. The Coptic diaspora illustrates that upward mobility can be achieved without loss of heritage identity. Religious structures can play an important role not only in sustaining heritage identity, but also facilitating positive assimilation. A review of the Coptic community activities in diaspora, along with findings of a Coptic Diaspora survey may offer lessons for other immigrant groups. The study affirms some theoretical findings and raises questions for future research.
Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff is Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs at the George Washington University, and co-Director of GWU’s Diaspora Research Program, a multidisciplinary program on diasporas, identity, policy and development. She has advised, provided training and conducted commissioned research for a range of governments and institutions. Her publications include six books, four co-edited journal issues and over fifty-five articles and book chapters. She authored Digital Diasporas: Identity and Transnational Engagement (Cambridge University Press, 2009), edited Diasporas and Development: Exploring the Potential (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2008), and edits the Lynne Rienner Publishers book series on Diasporas in World Politics.