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Addressing Intimate Partner Violence & Attending to Orthodoxy: A Conversation with Romina Istratii, Ph.D.

Friday, March 18, 2022, 910 a.m.


The Orthodox Christian Studies Center presents the next episode of its webinar series highlighting the scholarly insights and academic careers of female scholars whose research and writing explore some facet of the history, thought, or culture of Orthodox Christianity. The broadcast will be livestreamed and open to all who have pre-registered. The event will include some time for live audience questions, as well. For those who miss the live event, the center will archive each episode on its website and YouTube channel. This episode features an interview with Romina Istratii, Ph.D.

Istratii is the UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the School of History, Religions, and Philosophies and an honorary research associate to the Department of Development Studies and the Centre of World Christianity at SOAS University of London. Istratii, who was born in the Republic of Moldova and raised in Greece, has more than 10 years of experience working as a decolonial international development researcher and practitioner to develop de-westernized, faith-sensitive, and culturally appropriate methods for researching and addressing gender issues and domestic violence in religious societies of Africa. She has previously conducted independent fieldwork in Ghana, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Senegal with the support of such funders as the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the Tokyo Foundation, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Istratii specializes in Eastern Orthodox and pre-Chalcedonian (also known as Oriental Orthodox) Christian churches and traditions and is particularly versed in Orthodox theology of gender, marriage, and the conjugal relationship having studied thoroughly the works of St John Chrysostom. Her work is especially interested in integrating theological and exegetical responses to domestic violence alleviation programs in Orthodox Christian and other religious societies.

Istratii has previously written on the ethics of international development, western gender metaphysics and religious knowledge systems, and the discourse of fundamentalism in gender studies. Inter alia, she has authored the journal article “Beyond a feminist ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’: Reading St John Chrysostom’s commentaries on man-woman relations, marriage, and conjugal abuse through the Orthodox phronema” (SOAS University of London) and the monograph “Adapting Gender and Development to Local Religious Contexts: A Decolonial Approach to Domestic Violence in Ethiopia” (Routledge, 2020).

Istratii established and edits with the support of theology students in Addis Ababa an Amharic webpage on Orthodox dogmatics and is the principal investigator of Project dldl/ድልድል, which is dedicated to the development and strengthening of religio-culturally sensitive domestic violence alleviation systems in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the UK. She is also the first alumna of the Gingko Fellowship, which is awarded to top divinity scholars in the UK to promote knowledge exchange and inter-faith dialogue with Islamic scholars at Al-Azhar University in Egypt.