People of Nubia in Chicago

The return from U.S.A. to Norway signifies the close of the entries concerning Chicago and Nubian topics. This one will concentrate to the people who are involved in Nubian Studies in Chicago.

Obviously the headquarters of such studies are based at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, and inevitably if one wishes to study the material kept there from the Oriental Institute Nubian Expedition one has the honor and pleasure to work with Helen McDonald’s team in the Registration department, always willing to facilitate the progress of the work; and with Laura D’Alessandro’s team in the Conservation lab who will tirelessly search for the optimal methods to enhance the researchers’ contact and apprehension of the objects under study. Through Laura we also came in contact with Miller Prosser from the Persepolis Fortification Archive who offered us wholeheartedly some of his precious time and the experience of sharing the equipment he is using in his job aiming at facilitating the work of the scholars who study the inscriptional material from Persepolis.

Interestingly, Nubia in the Oriental Institute is not at all the isolated discipline that it quite often appears to be in the framework of the International Society for Nubian Studies. In Chicago, Nubia, from the most ancient times through the Middle Ages, finds its place aside the great civilizations of the Near and Middle East: as part of the world system of the Bronze Age states; as a periphery of Pharaonic Egypt; as an independent Empire (Kushitic, Napatan, and Meroitic) inherently linked with the civilizations of the Classical era; as part of Eastern Christianity of the Middle Ages. The halls of the museum exemplify these tendencies, while the library and the archives offer almost anything one may need to find in order to deepen in related research. The help of the head of the Archives, Foy Scalf, facilitates the procedures tremendously and always with a smile!

The director of the Institute, professor Gil Stein, manages this balance, having an exquisite reminder in the person of Bruce Williams, the heart and soul of Nubian Studies in Chicago, and that for various reasons:

  1. He is the author of eight out of ten volumes of OINE!
  2. He is cooperating with Lisa Heidorn in the preparation of a volume on Dorginarti.
  3. He is preparing another one on the Christian period of Serra East.
  4. He has been pivotal in promoting our project proposal for the publication of the material from Qasr el Wizz.
  5. He is active in raising the awareness of the public for the protection of the Nubian land, people, and heritage, especially under the threat of the plans of constructing even more dams along the Middle Nile Valley.
  6. And he deeply believes that the Oriental Institute can bring closer the academic milieu of Hyde Park with surrounding people and suburbs, where also many Nubians live.

Therefore, I am certain that if I were still in Chicago on Saturday we would enjoy together the music band of Alsarah and the Nubatones performing at the International House of the University of Chicago, in the frame of the World Music Festival

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