top of page
  • webshaykh

Announcing the 2024 US Scholars Research Fellowship Awardees

The American Institute for Yemeni Studies is proud to announce the 2024 US Scholars Fellowship awardees. The U.S. Scholars Research Fellowship for Yemeni Studies 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 even though travel to Yemen is currently unavailable. Past fellows have traveled to England, the Netherlands, Italy, Ethiopia, and more!

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Congratulations to this year's fellows! Read about our fellows, their projects, and where they'll be traveling to below:


Benjamin Berman-Gladstone

PhD Candidate, Department of History and Hebrew & Judaic Studies, New York University

Enslavement and Dissent in 1930s and 1940s ‘Aden and Yemen

The history of enslavement during the British colonial period in ‘Aden and its protectorates is rarely discussed, and even more rarely studied. Buried among the colonial records are several testimonies by enslaved people and their free family members, particularly attached to applications for and documents certifying manumission. Such documents offer rare glimpses – albeit mediated and redacted by colonial officials – into the biographies and experiences of people enslaved in southern Arabia. My dissertation, which examines the British protectorate system in ‘Aden, includes a section on this phenomenon. The material that I have found in the colonial archives allows for a substantive history of southern Arabian slavery during this period, including the vast network of Wāḥidī slavers, the dependence of the British Eastern ‘Aden Protectorate upon the labor of people enslaved by the Qu‘aiṭī and Kathīrī sultans, and work by both enslaved people and abolitionist bureaucrats and militiamen inside the Qu‘aiṭī and Kathīrī civil administrations toward emancipation. Almost all of these stories have gone entirely untold. With this fellowship, I will return to the archives in London to expand upon that work and to learn more about the history of enslavement in not only ‘Aden and its protectorates, but also Yemen, the Red Sea islands, and beyond.

Traveling To: London, United Kingdom

Elizabeth Bishop

Associate Professor, Department of History, Texas State University

"Archive" and "Library" in the Idrisi Imamate

In Shari'a Scripts: A Historical Anthropology (2018), Brinkley Messick introduced an epistemological distinction between "the archive" which consists of court documents, and "the library" which includes legal commentaries. Beshara Doumani used a similar bifurcation between "archive" and "library" in Family Life in the Ottoman Mediterranean (2017, p. 87), as did Nandini Chatterjee in Land and Law in Mughal India (2020); in other words, the significance of Messick's project to the study of Yemen is evident beyond the study of Yemen.  AIYS support under the U.S. Scholars Fellowship program permits me to revise and update a published article "Ameen al Rihani on Statecraft in Imamic Yemen" (2010).

While Nada Moumtaz underscored Messick's distinction between the "archive" and the "library" as separate yet interdependent textual realms (2021, p. 21; also Taylor 2023, p. 151; Chatterjee 2020, p. 235; Yahaya 2020; and Li 2019), I note the British Library Asian and African Studies collection includes monographs on relations with the Idrisi imam, to which the BL adds files of India Office Records. Also, the UK National Archives holds Colonial Office records including India Office Records of the British Administration (CO 725), as well as Treasury Supply Department files (T 161) regarding the Zaydi Imamate.  I propose to read these against a documentary record from the region produced by the revolutionary authorities of the Soviet state.

Traveling To: London, United Kingdom

Iman Nagy

PhD Candidate, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles

Rethinking the function of Rock Inscriptions in Northeast Africa and South Arabia

In the landscapes of Northeast Africa and South Arabia (Southern Saudi Arabia and Yemen), interaction with rock faces has been utilized as a medium of cultural expression in various ways from as early as 15,000 years BP in the form of etchings and engravings depicting animals, daily life scenes, hunting scenes, (among many other motifs), from the late Pleistocene through the Islamic period and into the modern day. Many of these sites indicate continued traditions of cultural interaction and an intimacy with land use, as rock drawing motifs are shared between ancient communities from Northeast Africa and South Arabia. Known in rock art studies as Afro-Arabian rock art traditions, comparative research between these regions has been extremely limited despite a rich comparative corpus. What is the relationship between interacting with landscapes and rock drawing in these regions, and how did these relationships influence religious practice? An inclusive approach that bridges cultural worldviews and geologic contexts allows for a holistic analysis that sheds light on relationships between motifs, landscapes and religious ideology through time.

Traveling To: Cairo, Egypt and Djanet, Algeria

The next call for the U.S. Scholars Fellowship for Yemeni Studies will be announced in October 2024.



bottom of page