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Announcing the 2023 AIYS U.S. Scholars Fellows

Congratulations to our 2023 U.S. Scholars Fellowship recipients, Adam Bailey of the University of Chicago, Lily Filson, an independent scholar, and Matei Tichindelean of the University of California, Los Angeles.

The U.S. Scholars Research Fellowship supports advanced research on Yemeni Studies for U.S. citizens to conduct research outside of the U.S. and Yemen. The fellowship began in 1981 and has stayed committed to assisting scholars in their research of Yemen. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Continue reading to learn about each fellow, their project, and where they will be traveling to on this fellowship.


Adam Bailey

PhD Candidate, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, The University of Chicago

History of Yemeni Trade and Culinary Identity

This project will be a master’s research thesis, relating the history of Indian Ocean and Red Sea trades to the creation of unique culinary traditions and food ways in modern Yemen. To complete this research paper, I will consult existing published works of Indian Ocean and Red Sea historians, like Kirti N. Chaudhuri, as well as analyze historical texts about culinary practices in the Indian Ocean basin, such as recipes and travel literature. The goal of this project is to connect Yemen’s unique history, in relation to international trade, with the culinary identity of contemporary Yemenis. Therefore, I plan to interview members of the Yemeni diaspora about their recipes, traditions, and identities as they relate to their food. The project will also cover the impact of nineteenth century colonialism on the trade practices and food ways on modern Yemen. I plan to research this aspect of Yemen’s culinary history at the British National Archives, where I will have access to original records kept by the colonial administration in Aden. I plan to complete most other research for this project at the University of Chicago, where I am a master’s student in Middle East Studies.

Traveling To: London, United Kingdom


Lily Filson

Independent Scholar

Sixteenth – Century Yemen through the Early Modern European Kens(es) at the Biblioteca Casanatense, Rome

The Dominican Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome, Italy holds two significant sixteenth-century manuscripts that illuminate two distinct instances of early modern European contact with Yemen directly preceding the First Ottoman Period (1517-1635 C.E.). My proposed project aims to examine the first printed edition (1510 C.E.) of the Itinerary of Ludovico di Varthema, which narrated the progress of a Bolognese adventurer through Egypt, the Levant, Arabia, the East African coastline, India, and as far as the principal islands of modern-day Indonesia, and the mid-sixteenth century Portuguese manuscript dubbed the Codex Casanatense (MS 1889), which illustrates costumes and customs of the Eastern civilizations with whom Portuguese explorers came into contact. Specifically, this project will focus on these sources’ text and images relevant to Yemen in the early sixteenth century, which is itself an under-studied aspect of the state of scholarship relevant to these works and to the wider field of the Global Renaissance to date.

Traveling To: Rome, Italy


Matei Tichindelean

PhD Candidate, Department of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles

Nomads, Metals, and Yemeni-Northeast African Cultural Contact in the Bronze Age

My research aims to explore the role of nomadic populations in the procurement and movement of metals sourced from Yemen in order to satisfy the demands of emerging settled communities in the Nile valley. I seek to challenge the pervasive narratives that relegate the Bronze Age populations living in southern Arabia to the periphery of the urban centers in Mesopotamia and Levant, in turn centering local, nomadic agents as drivers of commerce and cultural contacts between Arabia and the Nile valley. Furthermore, it will build on hereto understudied archaeological issues concerning indigenous metal extraction, production, and raw material trade in Yemen. In order to carry out this proposed research, I will undertake archival studies as well as metallurgical studies in various British institutions and museums and incorporate the results into archeometallurgical studies of the great northeast African and Arabian Peninsula.

Traveling To: Cambridge, Edinburgh, and London, United Kingdom


The next call for applications for the U.S. Scholars Fellowship will launch in November, 2023

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