By Gelsey Plaza
The Lewis & Clark Middle East and North African Studies (MENA) program applied to host a Fulbright Scholar in Residence for the 2018-2019 academic year. The Binational Fulbright Commission in Egypt offered Dr. Rasha Soliman a grant to teach at LC this year. The MENA program partnered with the departments of History and Classics to apply for the grant and Soliman will be teaching courses that count towards multiple majors and minors.
Soliman is an Egyptologist from Cairo, Egypt. She attended undergraduate and graduate school at Helwan University in Cairo. She has been appointed at Misr University for Science and Technology in 6th of October City, Giza, Egypt, ever since the inauguration of the School of Archeology in 2007. She researches ancient Egyptian archaeology with an emphasis on Theban tombs.
Soliman was Vice Dean for Educational & Students’ Affairs in 2016 at Misr University. LC’s MENA program is hoping to work with Soliman to create a new overseas program at Misr University.
Associate Professor of Anthropology and director of the MENA program Oren Kosansky said that MENA and LC were impressed with Soliman’s qualifications and her ability to contribute to the LC curriculum in an area, Egyptology, not otherwise covered.
“Rasha’s classes open very exciting opportunities for students to learn both subject matter (Ancient Egypt) and methods (archaeology) that are not part of the regular Lewis & Clark curriculum,” Kosansky said over email. “Aside from counting towards the MENA minor, Rasha’s classes will provide major credit in Classics, History, and SOAN. More broadly, we hope that these exciting courses will pique interest in the MENA region and motivate students to continue their studies at Lewis & Clark and on overseas programs.”
Soliman will teach two courses in spring 2019. “Ancient Egypt” (CLAS 298) is a history course that will survey major aspects of ancient Egyptian civilization that extended over a period of some 3,000 years, one of the most successful and enduring civilizations in world history.
“Coursework will highlight the changes and developments of Egyptian civilization over a long span of time from the early dynastic period to the end of the Pharaonic civilization,” Soliman said. “Topics explored will include history, concepts of kingship, political development, and religious organization, as well as literature and art.”
The second course will be “Ancient Egyptian Archaeology” (CLAS 398). This class is an introduction to archaeological techniques and their application to ancient Egyptian archaeological sites.
“We will examine both archaeological methods and documentation as well as a brief history of archaeological investigation,” Soliman said. “We will focus on major ancient Egyptian archaeological sites to explore the architectural ingenuity of this ancient civilization.”
Owen Wohlforth ’19 is a MENA minor and will be taking Soliman’s Ancient Egyptian Archaeology class for part of his thesis. Wohlforth is very excited to take a class with an Egyptologist.
“It is an incredible opportunity for me as I have done quite a bit of research into the music of ancient Egypt for a few different classes,” Wohlforth said. “Now I get to talk about my findings and compare them with the knowledge and expertise of Rasha who already has given me some very good questions to think about.”