International Conference Call for Abstracts : The Coptic educational systems and institutions (11th century-present)

Mina Ibrahim's picture

The French Institute for Oriental Archaeology (IFAO), in cooperation with center of Coptic studies at faculty of Arts, Alexandria University, organize an international conference on "The Coptic educational systems and institutions (11th century-present), February 17-18, 2022, at the IFAO in Cairo. 

Context and themes

When it comes to the history of education among Copts in the Arab era, there are two important phases. The first phase is the period extending from the late Tenth century to the middle of the Fourteenth century, which witnessed the flooding of writings in most of religious, legal, theological, and liturgical aspects. At the same time, many philosophical and ideological debates and discussions had been trigged. This momentum could indicate reasonable environment for teaching and learning, which most of its features, methods, and institutes, are not yet known. The second phase is the period beginning from the middle of the Nineteenth century onward, with initiatives of educational projects and the establishment of schools for civilians and clergy as well. On the other side, the Western missionaries founded schools and educational institutions across the country. 

Whe should also notice that the period from the middle of the Fourteenth century to the middle of the Nineteenth century, and especially the Ottoman period (1517-1805), is completely neglected, and has been stigmatized as a period of backwardness, darkness and ignorance.

Moreover, by restricting Coptic education to religious matters in the medieval and premodern history, and to confessional schools in modern history, other important aspects has been severely ignored, such as the financial, calculating, and topographical knowledge. The Copts were also applying to achieve their functions in financial and administrative affairs. They had also certain engineering experiences required to achieve the land surveying. Thus, it is very important to explore and focus on these fields, and the ways of transferring these knowledge. This point may allow a wide scope to study important aspects of Egyptian history. Hence, this approach is a way to study aspects of Coptic history in their broader contexts, or vice versa, to study important aspects of Egyptian history from the point of view of professional and administrative knowledge.

On the other hand, there is a scattered information about the traditional educational institutions of the Copts, especially the schools attached to the churches. In comparison to the abundance of information about these institutions on the Islamic side, whether chronicles, biographies, or thousands of legal documents, especially waqf endowment documents, the sources are silent about these institutions on the Coptic side.

All these topics require more studies and analysis. Therefore, we invite the researchers interested in this field, or related fields, to submit research papers on these issues. We suggest a non-exclusive list of themes in which contributions can be made:

1- Traditional educational Coptic institutions

2- between Islamic and Coptic institutions: sources and approaches. 

3- Religious and theological debates: the institutional education systems could be behind. 

4- Ways of transferring religious and liturgical knowledge

5- Manuscripts traditions, copying, revising, editing.

6- Methods of teaching financial and administrative matters, Land surveying, and bookkeeping.

7- Sources of non-religious teaching. 

8- Modern and missionary schools

9- Charitable foundations and their educational roles

10- Current educational and research centers.


Important dates

Papers could be in Arabic, French, or English

November 30th, 2021: deadline for submitting paper title, abstract (max. 300 words), and C.V. or Short Bio.

December 18th, 2021: informing of accepting contributions.

For any question or requirement, please write to