Coptic identity

PhD thesis: Dress Codes: A comparative study of Coptic identity and dress in past and present (PhD defence on 10th March 2016)

Researcher: Tineke Rooijakkers

Through dress we convey silent messages about our identity, thereby visualizing and reinforcing a sense of community. My research investigates the connection between religion and dress, or more specifically; the role of dress within the creation, confirmation and renegotiation of religious identity. To answer this general question a specific case study is examined in detail: that of the Coptic community. Issues of dress and identity are investigated both at its origins in the past and in the present. Past dress codes are examined through ancient textiles, images and texts, while present Egyptian and diaspora communities are studied through in-depth interviews and the documentation of markers of religious identity. By comparing the past and the present, changes within dress codes can be examined, but also the influence of different receptor societies on religious identity and its accompanying dress codes, how history has shaped present ideas of identity, and how history and a notion of continuity, visualised through dress and art, is used to maintain a sense of community.

Supervisor: Prof. R. B. ter Haar Romeny. Co-supervisors: Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood and Dr Matt Immerzeel. 

Contact information:  tel. +31 20 5989975

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