Sam Victor was awarded the Woolf Institute Cambridge Scholarship to commence his PhD studies in 2018.
What exactly does it mean to be "open to diversity"? This morally and politically dense question was the motor of my doctoral fieldwork at a predominantly white, evangelical church of 1,800 people in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee (18 months in 2019-2020). Nashville is a mid-sized city in the so-called Bible Belt, a region of the United States where evangelical Protestantism is the majority religion and white Evangelicalism is politically dominant. In this context, I examined churchgoers' relational techniques of Christian personhood and group association, their ethics of evangelism in both interpersonal relations and political engagement (including their participation in anti-Islamphobia and anti-racism activism), and their methods of religious knowledge production (ex., biblical hermeneutics and spiritual epistemology).
Originally from the United States but now settled in Quebec, I did my undergraduate studies in French language and linguistics at Concordia University in Montreal. I developed an interest in social sciences through a series of internships at research institutes and community organisations focusing on immigration and refugee resettlement. I then returned to university to pursue a MSc in Anthropology (ethnologie) from the Université de Montréal where I was a member of the Laboratoire de recherche en relations interculturelles (LABRRI). In my Masters research and thesis, which laid the groundwork for my current work, I conducted 3 months of fieldwork in Nashville examining grassroots interfaith initiatives between evangelical Christians and Muslims. I am now writing up my dissertation as a PhD candidate in the Department of Social Anthropology at Cambridge, where my research is supervised by Prof Joel Robbins.
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