Dr. Mark Dickens
St. Joseph's College
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB T6G 2J5
Office: 1-10 St. Joseph's College
Dr. Mark Dickens has been teaching since 2012 in the Department of History and Classics and the Religious Studies Program at the University of Alberta. Mark did his MPhil and PhD degrees at Cambridge University (2003-2008), after which he was a Research Assistant and Teaching Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London (2008-2011), as well as a Research Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge (2009-2011). After moving back to Canada in 2011, he was a Killam Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Religious Studies Program at U of A (2011-2013).
Mark's research is concerned with connections between Syriac Christianity and Central Asia in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic (the language of Jesus), spoken by Middle Eastern Christians from the early days of Christianity up to the present. It is the liturgical language of the Church of the East and the Syriac Orthodox Church, both of which had associations with Central Asian Christianity up to the time of the Mongols.
Mark has co-authored with Dr. Erica C.D. Hunter a catalogue of Syriac Manuscripts from the Berlin Turfan Collection and has spoken on or published articles about the history of the Church of the East in Central Asia, the portrayal of Turks and other Eurasian steppe nomads in Syriac literature, and Christian texts and inscriptions from Central Asia, including manuscript fragments from Turfan in Chinese Turkestan, gravestones discovered in Kyrgyzstan, and Syriac cliff inscriptions in Uzbekistan.
Mark has taught or is teaching this year courses on World History (Pre-Modern, Early Modern and Modern), the History of Christianity, the New Testament, Eastern Christian Textual Sources, Orthodox Christianity, Minority Religions in the Middle East, Chinese History and Historiography. Articles and conference presentations in process include “The Huns of Central and South Asia in Syriac Literature,” a Catalogue of Christian Gravestones from Central Asia, “Contextualizing the Syro-Turkic Christian gravestone inscriptions from Inner Mongolia,” “Tarsā: Persian and Central Asian Christians in Extant Literature” and ”Syro-Uigurica III: Enochic Material in a Christian text from Turfan.”