Category Archives: Member News

Cairo Heritage Workshop

Cairo2Workshop participants. Dan Mahoney is in the back, 5 from the left. Photo courtesy of Peter Heredrich.

On behalf of AIYS, board member Daniel Mahoney attended a “Strategic Planning for Regional Cultural Property Protection” workshop organized in Cairo on February 22-23, 2020. This was organized by the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) for the CAORC member centers and allied organizations in regard to two main topics: (1) an update and explanation of the bilateral agreements the U.S. is making with countries in MENA with the most immediate aim of stopping the importation of looted/stolen archaeological and ethnographic cultural property, and (2) the planning for two future workshops (sponsored by ARCE from a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo) aimed at bringing together CAORC members and government officials from the MENA countries to discuss topics such as site management and collection documentation and inventory systems.

The major outcome of the meeting was the planning of the next two workshops. The first will take place at ACOR (Jordan) when possible, with its theme of ‘site management’.
It is hoped that these workshops will further communications between MENA government antiquities professionals in order to share and promote best practices for cultural heritage/property protection.

In regards specifically to Yemen and the ‘MoU’ (Memorandum of Understanding) for the bilateral agreement for cultural property protection, this is the current status: On February 7, a unilateral emergency order was issued by the U.S. via the Federal Register for import restrictions imposed on archaeological and ethnological material from Yemen. This can remain in place for up to eight years, but cannot be renewed beyond this. During this period of time, a bilateral agreement must be settled, which will last for five years and can be renegotiated and renewed every five years thereafter. There was a hearing and meeting for this bilateral MoU in Washington, D.C. this past October, but the final results have yet to come about. It is expected later this year. The MoU is necessary because the 1970 UNESCO Convention for Cultural Property Protection is not automatically enforced in the U.S. without an additional agreement.

The reason for the recent upsurge in agreements for the MENA region is partly because the U.S. government sees them as a tool towards national security because the illegal trafficking of cultural property is often used to fund terrorism. In addition, increased regional/local MENA interest in the protection of cultural property leads to the strengthening of civil society and local communities.

New Post on Zabid Project

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One of the major archeological projects conducted in Yemen was the Royal Ontario Museum expedition in the 1980s under the directorship of Ed Keall.  Dr. Keall has provided an update on the project and this is now online on the AIYS website.

Below is the outline:

Formal Start of the Project in 1982 >
Study of Zabid’s urban form >
Traditional brick houses of Zabid >
Zabid Citadel Excavations >
al-Asha’ir mosque probe
>
Ceramic Typology >
The Mosques of Zabid >
Commemorative Monuments in Islamic Tihamah >
Spate Irrigation and Water Delivery Systems >
Megalithic site of al-Midamman >
Rock paintings of al-Mastur >
Bibliography

الإعلان عن إطلاق موقع يمن ابديت اون لين

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الإعلان عن إطلاق موقع  يمن ابديت اون لين

ينشر موقع يمن ابديت اون لاين البحوث والدراسات اليمنية بما في ذلك المقالات المهنية بلغتين العربية والانجليزي و مراجعات الكتب والتقارير التي يصدرها باحثو وزملاء المعهد الأمريكي للدراسات اليمنية. تتم الإضافات والتحديثات على مدار العام بعد تقديمها والموافقة على نشرها من قبل المحررين. وان كانت المقالات اقل من الف كلمة فسيتم نشرها كنص في الإنترنت. بينما يتم نشر المقالات والموضوعات الأطول بصيغة بي. دي. أف لأمكانية نسخها من الموقع. ويتخذ المحررون قرار الموافقة على نشرها. ان رغبتم في تقديم صور او رسومات يجب ان تكونوا اصحاب الحق في نشرها اولديكم اذناً بذل. أما بقية حقوق الطبع فهي للكاتب. التفاصيل على الموقع

Announcing Yemen Update Online

Yemen Update Online publishes research in English and Arabic in any field of Yemen Studies. This includes professional articles of any length, book reviews and AIYS fellowship reports. Items will be added throughout the calendar year as they are submitted and approved by the editors. If the article is less than 1,000 words it will be published as text online, but longer articles will be published as pdfs to be downloaded from the site. Decisions on publication are made by the editors. If you are submitting photographs or drawings, make sure that you have permission to do so.  All rights remain with the author. For details, check out the website.

Why Yemen Matters

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Yemen’s war and humanitarian crisis are in the news, but very little is known about the rich cultural heritage of the southwestern corner of Arabia throughout history. Also largely unknown are Yemen’s geographic and economic diversity or their impact on recent events. Yemen’s diversity owes much to conquest, trade, and migration between Yemen and Christian Ethiopia, Sassanian and Islamic Iran, Fatimid and Ayyubid Egypt, Ottoman Turkey, the African coast and Southeast Asia. In this panel experts on different periods of Yemeni history and its diverse contemporary contexts probe beyond current politics to share their insights and discuss potentials for future scholarly research on Yemen.

There will be a Near Eastern Studies Seminar, Why Yemen Matters: The Heritage of a Land in Crisis,at the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton on Feb. 19, from 5:00-6:30 pm. This Panel Discussion presents current IAS Scholars:  Najwa Adra (IAS), Hassan Ansari (IAS), Glen Bowersock (IAS), Nathalie Peutz (New York University Abu Dhabi), Christian Robin (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris), Sabine Schmidtke (IAS), and Daniel M. Varisco (American Institute for Yemeni Studies).

The meeting will be held in the White-Levy room at IAS. This event is part of the Near Eastern Studies Workshops sponsored by Professor Sabine Schmidtke (IAS). RSVP to nitschke@ias.edu.

Nancy Um on Mocha in Chicago

“From City to Text to Image: Pieter van den Broecke and Safi ibn Vali in Seventeenth-Century Mocha”
by Nancy Um (SUNY Binghamton)

Friday, February 14
, 12:00 – 1:30 pm
Neubauer Collegium
University of Chicago
5701 S. Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL

In this talk, Nancy Um will examine two seventeenth-century images of the Red Sea port of Mocha in Yemen. The first is an etching by Adriaen Matham, which was published in the journal of the Dutch East India Company merchant Pieter van den Broecke. The other is a painting that appeared in a pilgrimage narrative written by Safi ibn Vali, a Persian scholar who was sponsored by Zib al-Nisa, the daughter of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The two images will be placed in dialogue, with a consideration of the complicated relationships that were sustained between port city spaces, travel narratives, and image genres in the seventeenth century, a time when Red Sea travel, for both trade and pilgrimage, generated considerable visual interest.

This event is sponsored by the Interwoven project at the Neubauer Collegium. This event is free and open to the public. Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate should contact the Neubauer Collegium at collegium@uchicago.edu or 773.795.2329.

 

Tribal Dynamics and Nation Building in Yemen

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On February 5, 2020 Najwa Adra, a Visitor at the School for Social Sciences of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, will give a talk in the  Near Eastern Studies Seminar on “Tribal Dynamics and Nation Building in Yemen.”

The meeting will be from 4:00-6:00 pm in the West Seminar room at IAS. All are welcome.

For details, click here: https://www.hs.ias.edu/islamic-world/events

Passing of Abbas Hamdani

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Prof. Abbas Hamdani

AIYS is saddened to hear of the passing of Prof. Abbas Hamdani, who made substantial contributions to the study of the Ismaili community in Yemen, on December 23, 2019.

Below is a tribute from George Mason University:

Condolences from AVACGIS to the Family of Professor Abbas Hamdani

Dear Friends,

We are sorry to share the news that Dr. Sumaiya Hamdani’s father, Dr. Abbas Hamdani, passed away.      Dr. Sumaiya Hamdani shared that he passed in comfort, and was at home with family. Please join us in extending condolences and sympathies to Dr. Sumaiya Hamdani. Her e-mail address is shamdani@gmu.edu

In lieu of flowers, Dr. Abbas Hamdani wished for family and friends to donate to either Doctors without Borders or the United Nations Relief Works Agency.

Here is some information about Dr. Abbas Hamdani adapted from his faculty page at the Institute for Ismaili Studies:

Dr. Hamdani was Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  He was born in Surat, India in 1926, received his B.A. (Hons.) and L.L.B. degrees from Bombay University in 1945 and 1947 and his Ph.D. from the University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies) in 1950, in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He taught Islamic History at the University of Karachi from 1951-62; at the American University in Cairo from 1962-69; and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee until his retirement in 2001.
Dr. Hamdani published widely on medieval Islamic philosophical thought.  His academic honors include a Fellowship from the Fulbright Commission and the American Research Centre in Egypt, and an award for distinction in Teaching, Service, and the promotion of Peace from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  He spoke several languages (English, Arabic, French, Urdu, Gujrati) and travelled widely, attending and speaking at conferences in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, North Africa, Australia, and Asia.  He recently donated around 300 manuscripts inherited through seven generations of his family to the Institute of Ismaili Studies, which has been catalogued in the IIS publication Arabic, Persian and Gujarati Manuscripts: The Hamdani Collection.

An obituary from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is published here.

Yemen at American Historical Association

Three members of AIYS will be presenting at the AHA annual meeting in New York City this coming Monday.

Late Breaking: Understanding the Conflict in Yemen Through History

Monday, January 6, 2020: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM

Trianon Ballroom (New York Hilton, Third Floor), NYC

Chair:
Les Campbell, National Democratic Institute
Panel:
Bernard Haykel, Princeton University
Gregory Johnsen, Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies
Asher Orkaby, Transregional Institute, Princeton University
Khlood al-Hagar, National Endowment for Democracy

Session Abstract

The ongoing civil war in Yemen is synonymous with a growing humanitarian crisis and a sectarian rivalry between Sunnis in Saudi Arabia and Shi’is in Iran. Underlying the difficult photos of starving Yemeni children and cities succumbing to widescale destruction is a conflict rooted in Yemen’s history. The modern state of Yemen, first founded in September 1962 has been reduced to a few hotel rooms in Riyadh, while northern tribesmen representing a bygone and racist social and political hierarchy have taken over the capital city of Sana’a. The “civil war” does not feature opportunistic groups searching for prominence in a fractured political structure in Yemen, but rather consists of groups representing centuries of geographic, religious, ideological, and cultural identities that constitute the very fabric of South Arabian history.

Yemen, however, does not exist in a vacuum. A local change of government in Sana’a has drawn regional and international powers into the political strife, dragging a national struggle into the international arena. The relative dearth of Yemen area specialists has presented both an opportunity and responsibility for historians and other academics to lend their expertise to governments, think tanks, and the general public audience as they struggle to make sense of current events in Yemen. Seldom do historians have an opportunity to reach audiences of thousands, let alone hundreds of thousands, eager to learn about decades and centuries of Yemeni history. Seldom do historians have an opportunity to make history themselves, by applying their historical expertise to a contemporary conflict and playing a role in bringing about a peaceful resolution.This panel features experts on Yemen’s religious, social, and political history. Each panelist will present a historical perspective on a particular aspect of the Yemen conflict and discuss how they have been able to translate their academic expertise to the policy field and to a wider public audience. The panel will also be an opportunity to demonstrate the power of Applied History and how the history classroom can be transferred to real world conflicts.

Passing of Merilyn Phillips Hodgson

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Merilyn Phillips Hodgson
(photograph from AFSM website)

Dear friends,
It is with great sorrow that we share the news of the passing of Merilyn Phillips Hodgson on Sunday, December 29, 2019 at her home in Falls Church, Virginia.
Merilyn’s passion for Yemen and its people began after taking over the leadership of the American Foundation for the Study of Man following the death of her brother, Wendell Phillips.
Through her commitment to the archaeology and cultural heritage of Yemen, she introduced great opportunities for scholars to participate and work in one of the most famous archaeological sites in Yemen at Awam Temple/ Mahram Bilqis.  We at the American Foundation for the Study of Man will honor her legacy and continue exploring, working and supporting Yemen and its culture.
Those of us that have had the privilege of enjoying her company will miss her greatly.  May she rest in peace and may your memories of spending time with her bring a smile.

On behalf of the American Foundation of the Study of Man,
Zaydoon Zaid
________________________________
Dr.-Ing. Zaydoon Zaid
Director and Vice-president
American Foundation For the Study of Man
Falls Church, VA 22042
703 241 3780
703 303 9640 (cell)