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Samuel Victor (2018)

Samuel Victor (2018)

Research Title: Evangelicals, ‘Muslim Neighbours’ and the Ethics of Relationships in Nashville, Tennessee

Supervisor: Professor Joel Robbins


My research examines Christian perspectives on the ethics of relationships in Nashville, Tennessee, an increasingly multicultural city in the region of the United States where evangelical Protestantism is predominant. In the past several years, some churches have begun engaging in informal interreligious dialogue and the development of what they call ‘authentic relationships’ with Muslims.

I'm interested in how churchgoers conceive of their relatedness to people whom they see as ‘others’ and of the moral dimensions of this form of evangelical social engagement that foregrounds the recognition of religious difference. Why have interreligious friendships become important to some Christians in Nashville and what makes them 'authentic'? What kinds of social and moral questions arise as these people navigate new expressions of (and arenas for) competing values? What do their reflections and experiences, as well as those of their Muslim counterparts, stand to teach us about the ethics of social relations and 'living with difference' in societies that are increasingly multicultural and framed by pluralistic public discourses?

Originally from the United States, I studied French language and linguistics at Concordia University in Montréal, Québec before developing an interest in social sciences through a series of internships at research institutes and community organisations that focused on questions around immigration and intercultural relations. I then continued on to receive a MSc in Anthropology (ethnologie) from the Université de Montréal where I was a member of the Laboratoire de recherche en relations interculturelles (LABRRI). I have worked on a number of research projects doing ethnographic fieldwork and qualitative data analysis. These include research into the religious conversion pathways to Islam of youths in Montreal and a study examining different approaches to multicultural community engagement at a Montreal career services and diversity advocacy organization.

In my Masters research and thesis, which laid the groundwork for my current project, I explored grassroots interreligious dialogue in Nashville.

My research is supported by the Woolf Institute Cambridge, where I am an affiliated PhD Scholar.

Research Interests

The anthropology of Christianity; anthropology of ethics; interreligious relations; pluralism (cultural and political discourses); diversity; immigration; United States

Key Publications

Victor, SA. (forthcoming). Les evangeliques peuvent-ils etre pluralistes ? La convivialité comme question d’hospitalité à Nashville. Diversite urbaine.