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  • Writer's pictureMegan Lewis

2021 Summer Grant Recipients!

After a week of voting, and a nerve-wracking 6-way tie, the results are in! I'm pleased to announce that our Summer Grant recipients are Bet Hucks, Jay Caballero, May-Sarah Zeßin, and Kimberley Watt. Thank you to everyone who applied, to the live YouTube audience who asked such fantastic questions, and to everyone who donated to support this grant program!

Bet Hucks is a 4th year Ph.D. student at the University of Heidelberg, studying the influence of aegyptiaca romana, or Egyptian and Egyptian-style objects used and displayed by Romans, during the Imperial Period. Her goal is to 3D print the models and display them to the general public as touch-friendly exhibits. This work is important because much of the scholarship conducted on these materials analyzes them as separate classes from the Graeco-Roman objects they appeared alongside in antiquity. Today they are displayed in separate museums or sections of museums, and many of them are widely dispersed throughout the world. This project offers the first chance to visually analyze how these pieces would have been perceived/sensed by the Romans under different lighting conditions and times of year, as well as providing an interdisciplinary approach to materiality and personal identity in the Roman world. Bet will use the HAPS scholarship to renew her visa for this extra semester, allowing her to finish writing her dissertation without worrying about how to pay rent or whether I will get deported. Any extra funds will go towards the purchase of photographic rights for database images, some of which cost up to $200 each.

Jay Caballero is a 6th year Ph.D. at the University of Texas, Austin, in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East program. A second-time H.A.P.S. applicant, Jay's research interests center mainly on comparative law in the ancient Near East, and the development of law within ancient Near Eastern societies, especially within the Hebrew Bible. Jay's summer plans are to focus on a chapter of his dissertation; namely, sexual assault. The ANE law codes do not have a clear term like “sexual assault” or “rape” that denotes criminal sexual activity. One can only discern that such conduct is in view only by the description of the conduct at issue in each law. Further complicating matters is that the ANE codes are often not as explicit about what sexual conduct constitutes sexual assault and what constitutes merely illicit, consensual sexual activity. His project for this summer will be to analyze and explore whether any of the proscribed sexual conduct included in each of the ANE law codes would qualify as a sexual assault, and, if so, whether that behavior appears to be criminalized and what the punishment for such is. He will also attempt to discern a moral code or philosophy that explains why these behaviors were criminalized. This distillation will eventually be adduced to the other findings in his dissertation, relating to bestiality, incest, and same-sex relations, in an attempt to understand why those ANE societies criminalized all of the sexual conduct that they did criminalize.

May-Sarah Zeßin is a 3rd year Ph.D. students at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main, and works part-time in the GlAssur research project at the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin. Her current research interests are focused on the production and construction processes of glazed architectural features such as façades, podia, ramps, entrances, gates and towers of temples and palaces in the Ancient Near East. Her research question is how it is possible to detect these processes through marks made or caused by artisans, craftsmen and workers on glazed bricks as well as on glazed tiles from the first millennium BCE. May-Sarah's work is not just focused on the royal kings ordering these building projects, but on those people who were responsible for actually building these impressive monuments, brick by brick, tile by tile. Like many academics, May-Sarah's plans this summer depend largely on the international state of the pandemic. If travel is permitted, then she plans on visiting the British Museum in London, and the Louvre Museum in Paris, in order to study their glazed brick collections from the Ancient Near East - looking in particular at fitters’ marks, figurative stamps, and intentionally made finger impressions, stamped or incised cuneiform inscriptions. If travel is not permitted, then May-Sarah will focus on submitting an article concerning marks on glazed bricks from Ashur, and continue to write her dissertation.

Kimberley Watt is a final year Ph.D. student at the University of Cambridge, studying Egyptology. Kimberley focuses on the administration involved during the construction of temples and tombs during the Eighteenth Dynasty and the agency of officials at the time. By reevaluating the texts that highlight the king's role in construction projects, she gives the administrators and the people their voice back. Kimberley's summer project is to write a children's book presenting the fictionalized results of her Ph.D. thesis, sharing accurate scientific results in an engaging, recreational manner. She has developed the synopsis of a story aimed at children (8-14 years old), following a preteen Egyptian boy whose father is an architect (Overseer of works) for King Amenhotep III. This character is fictional, but all the Egyptological details are accurate, from the construction methods to the relationships between people. The H.A.P.S. Summer Grant would not only allow Kimberley the financial freedom to focus on this project, but would also enable her to pay a professional Egyptological illustrator to create illustrations for the project.

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