Géraldine Chatelard



Associate Research Fellow, Contemporary Studies Department, Ifpo, Jordan and Iraq

Personal pages: Academia, Ifpo

Contact: chatelard.geraldine@gmail.com



Géraldine Chatelard is an Associate Researcher with the Department of Contemporary Studies at the Institut français du Proche-Orient (Ifpo). Her disciplinary approach lies at the intersection of historiography, social anthropology and political sociology. In 2000, she received a doctorate in History and Civilisation from the EHESS in Paris. Her dissertation was awarded Best Dissertation in French on the Arab and Islamic world, and was published under the title Briser la mosaïque. Les tribus chrétiennes de Madaba, Jordanie, XIXe-XXe siècl (Paris, CNRS Editions, 2004). Through a historiography of Christians in Jordan from the late 19th to late 20th century, she applied the interpretive framework to ethnic groups and boundaries proposed by anthropologist Fredrik Barth to understand the dynamics of identity formation and the social and political participation of non-Muslims in Moslem-majority societies. She also co-edited the proceedings of the conference dedicated to the French Dominican epigraphist and early ethnographer Antonin Jaussen (Antonin Jaussen : Sciences sociales occidentales et patrimoine arabe, Beirut and Amman, Centre d’études et de recherches sur le Moyen-Orient contemporain, 1999). In subsequent years, she turned her attention to the migration and mobilities of Iraqis, a long-term project that has evolved into an examination of how exterritorial citizenship is being negotiated and co-constructed by the Iraqi expatriates and the new Iraqi state. In parallel, she pursues a project on the recent practices, representations and politics of cultural heritage in Iraq and amongst the Iraqi diaspora.

Research project

Within the framework of the MISSMO programme, G. Chatelard will contribute to Theme 2 Missions and local confessional identities.

She will undertake a comparative historical analysis of the situation of Christians in late Ottoman Transjordan and in the Emirate of Hakkari, eastern Anatolia, during the 19th century. In her earlier work, Chatelard examined the combined effect of imperial power and Christian missions on inter-confessional relations governed locally by a tribal regime in South-Eastern Syria. She would now like to broaden her perspective on the dynamics of religious, tribal and ethnic identities and their transformation by drawing from accounts by Western travellers and missionaries, together with early ethnographers, who have written on the Assyrians of Hakkari at a time when the region was invested by Western missionaries and imperial politics.

Furthermore, she will contribute a reflexion on the legacy, institutional and representational, and the contemporary forms of Christian missionarism manifested through the current interventions of global humanitarian, development and human rights advocacy organisations (no all of them faith-based) in favour of Christians and other ethno-confessional groups construed as minorities in Iraq. Her focus is on the arena of cultural heritage invested by multiple claims for authority, recognition and access to symbolic, material and political resources in the new Iraqi landscape.

Key words

Christians, Jordan, Anatolia, Iraq, ethnic and religious boundaries, identity politics, minorities, missions, cultural heritage