Joshua Donovan is a seventh-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History. His current research focuses on identity and subject formation in the modern Middle East and the diaspora. In 2021-2022, with the support of a Sakıp Sabancı Center Dissertation Fellowship, he will complete a dissertation entitled, “Imagining Antioch: Nationalism, Sectarianism, and Migration in Greek Orthodox Bilād al-Shām,” which considers how the Antiochian Greek Orthodox Christian community forged a sense of identity and community in the face of disruptive and transformative political, social, and economic changes during the late Ottoman and post-Ottoman eras. The project contributes to his broader research interests on identity formation, migration, and human rights discourses. Beyond his degree, he is an occasional co-host on the New Books in Middle East Studies podcast with the New Books Network and taught in Columbia’s Core Curriculum during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Before coming to Columbia, Joshua earned a B.A. with honors in History and Political Science from Georgetown University and an M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.
“Imagining Antioch: Nationalism, Sectarianism, and Migration in Greek Orthodox Bilād al-Shām,” traces the evolution and contestation of national and sectarian identities within the Antiochian Greek Orthodox Christian community in Southeastern Anatolia, Syria, Lebanon, and the diaspora from 1860-1958. It shows how people produced, transformed, and even transcended their religious and national identities in order to combat their marginalization within increasingly sectarian political structures.