The American Research Center in Eygpt

'Tis the Season....Fellowship Season

'Tis the Season....Fellowship Season

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'Tis the Season....Fellowship Season
By the time the torrid days of summer begin to fade and Cairenes begin to notice the faintest trace of cool in the early morning air, ARCE is already deep into fellowship preparations on both sides of the Atlantic. In Egypt, we are expecting the arrival of a new cohort of ARCE fellows; in the U.S. we announce the fellowship competition via electronic and printed posters sent to over 800 college and university departments.

The demands of living in Cairo with roughly 20 million other people coupled with the complex labyrinth of permissions and clearances can baffle even veteran researchers. And this is where ARCE steps in to guide and assist its fellows. We know and work closely with officials at the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs and the Ministry of Higher Education, institutions central to the fellowship experience. 

Group Of Fellows

ARCE staff and fellows meet following the January 25 Revolution. Many fellows found their research to take on new meaning and relevance.

Each year in early October the first group of scholars arrive in Cairo to begin their research. They continue to arrive throughout the year but must complete their fellowships by the end of September. Whether conducting research on ancient Egyptian dynasties, monasticism, Sufism in 7th Century A.H. Egypt, Ottoman Egypt or post-Mubarak Egypt, support is crucial to a successful outcome.

According to former pre-doctoral ARCE fellow, Zachary Berman, “I had begun research at Dar al-Wathaiq (National Archives) last year when I was in Egypt without a fellowship, but found the institution intimidating… I had all but given up on using these archives for my research. After my tenure began with ARCE, however, I was encouraged by some of the other fellows to revisit Dar al-Wathaiq…With their help, and through the new research room system, I was able to access some very critical documents.”

Administrative, logistic and moral support  are crucial elements of ARCE’s fellowship program.  As pre-doctoral scholar Thomas Landvatter explained, he found learning to navigate and negotiate the antiquities ministry in Cairo and its governorate offices throughout Egypt to be critical for his professional development and a significant outcome of his fellowship. He additionally noted that the contacts he made and networks he established with American and European expeditions, archaeologists, Ministry of Antiquities inspectors and Egyptologists were invaluable as a scholar and in the field.

Liz Cummins Fellow09

Liz Cummins (L), Egyptologist, presents her fellowship research as part of the ARCE lecture program.


October signals the start of the application and selection process for the upcoming academic year. All applications and supporting documentation are due by mid-January with the Selection Committee meeting taking place in late February.

As Dr. Adam Sabra, recently
Adam Sabra Jpg

Dr. Dina El Gabry (L), Egyptologist, and Dr. Adam Sabra (M) , historian, discuss ARCE conservation projects with ARCE staff in Darb al Ahmar, Islamic Cairo.

appointed Professor of History and King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud Chair in Islamic Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara stated, "Ï have held three fellowships from the American Research Center in Egypt…The first was a pre-doctoral grant that allowed me to do archival research…that [was] crucial to the completion of my Princeton Ph.D. dissertation. I published it as a book with the Cambridge University Press in 2000, and it was the basis of my receiving tenure. My most recent fellowship with ARCE…forms the basis for my current book project. I will be a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton next year to write that book. Most recently, I presented some of the research at a University of California at Santa Barbara as part of a search for an endowed chair in Islamic Studies. Without the opportunities provided by ARCE to work in the Egyptian archives and libraries, as well as the opportunity to meet with Egyptian colleagues, I would never have been able to purse this research.”

In November ARCE Membership Coordinator, Jeff Novak, and Academic Programs Coordinator, Djodi Deutch, go on the road to Denver to set up an information table at the annual Middle East Studies Association (MESA) meeting. Last year’s MESA meeting yielded over 40 papers presented by ARCE current and former fellows. Other professional association meetings at which ARCE fellows participate include: American Academy of Religion, Archaeological Institute of America, American Philological Association,  American Political Science Association, American Anthropological Association, American Research Center in Egypt, World Congress of Middle East Studies, Historians of Islamic Art and Architecture, Association of Middle East Women's Studies, International Congress of the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, International Association of Egyptologists, American Geographical Association, British Middle East Studies Association, American Association of Teachers of Arabic, and the American Oriental Society.

Interested in learning more about ARCE fellows and fellowships? Read more and follow our alumni.

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