Faculty

Scholarly Associations for Middle East Studies Laud NELC Researchers for Illuminating Recent and Ancient History

Donald Whitcomb, Orit Bashkin, and Tunc Sen

Scholars in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations have discovered and excavated new archaeological sites and uncovered new perspectives about history in the Middle East that brought new understanding about the civilizations, daily life, and religious and scientific practices of the region. In recognition of their significant contributions to the field, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) and Middle East Medievalists (MEM) recently honored NELC faculty members Donald Whitcomb and Orit Bashkin, as well as NELC alumnus Ahmet Tunç Şen, MA’10, PhD’16. Whitcomb received the MEM Lifetime Achievement Award for his pivotal fieldwork in historic Islamic archaeology. As the co-winner of MESA’s 2018 Nikki Keddie Book Award for her book Impossible Exodus: Iraqi Jews in Israel (Stanford University Press, 2017), Bashkin explores the difficult transition for Iraqi Jews who migrated to Israel in the 1950s, especially of the women and children. For his 2016 dissertation on “Astrology in the Service of the Empire: Knowledge, Prognostication, and Politics at the Ottoman Court, 1450s–1550s,” Şen received MEM’s Inaugural Dissertation Award.

UChicago Cinema Expert Helps Identify 1898 Film as Earliest Depiction of African-American Affection

Allyson Nadia Field

UChicago Associate Professor Allyson Nadia Field assisted in identifying the African-American actors, director, and historical significance of Something Good–Negro Kiss, the newly discovered silent film from 1898 that is believed to be the earliest example of African-American affection on-screen. “It was remarkable to me how well the film was preserved, and also what the actors were doing,” Field said. “There’s a performance there because they’re dancing with one another, but their kissing has an unmistakable sense of naturalness, pleasure, and amusement as well.

UChicago Scholar Writing about Space and Race Wins Modernist Studies Association's First Book Prize

Adrienne Brown

When Adrienne Brown was studying modernism at Princeton, she wasn’t sure if there was still room for her to write about it. Fortunately, Brown, associate professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, was able to find unexplored territory by analyzing the connections between skyscrapers and race in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries. This research proved so fruitful that the resulting book, The Black Skyscraper: Architecture and the Perception of Race (John Hopkins University Press, 2017), recently received the Modernist Studies Association’s First Book Prize.“Adrienne Brown is a stellar young scholar whose originality and breadth of learning are fully on display in The Black Skyscraper,” said Deborah Nelson, the Helen B. and Frank L. Sulzberger Professor in English and department chair.

UChicago Professor To Receive the MLA's William Sanders Scarborough Prize for His Transformative Scholarship

C. Riley Snorton

In writing a book that develops a new vocabulary for black and trans life, C. Riley Snorton delves into the past 150 years of American history. Recognizing the UChicago scholar’s inventiveness and depth of research and analysis, his widely celebrated book Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) has notched another significant accolade. The Modern Language Association will award the William Sanders Scarborough Prize to Snorton for his groundbreaking scholarship on January 5 in Chicago. “In his inaugural year at UChicago, Riley has brought new perspective to our research and teaching in literature, race, gender, and sexuality,” said Anne Walters Robertson, Dean of the Division of the Humanities.

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