Aaron Eldridge

Research Interests: Religion, Middle East, Lebanon, Eastern Christianity, Islam, Asceticism, Poetics, Temporality, Tradition, Secularity, Form of Life


My dissertation research, entitled 'Monastic Life in Aftermath: Formations of Orthodox Christian Asceticism in Lebanon', takes as its starting point the resurgence of Eastern Christian asceticism in Lebanon following its civil war (1975-1990). In a present shaded by that war’s long shadow, compounded by economic precarity and in proximity to Syria’s ongoing war, the dissertation tracks how ascetic spaces are host to uncanny returns and forms of community not easily viewed within the confines of the nation-state and its crisis-time. In that sense, this project—organized into three parts—countenances the different forms of temporalization that run through Eastern Christian asceticism: returns of saintly corpses and apparitions; poetics of a soul deadened in the desert of a post-war sensoria; and erotic thresholds of the Divine, the neighbor, and death. This research examines the ways that monastic reinhabitation and its ascetic poetics forges new forms of community in a precarious Lebanese present.

Published Work:

Berkeley Academia