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AIMS Research Grants for North African Scholars

2013-2014: Second Annual Saharan Crossroads Fellowship Competition

2012: Getty Research Exchange Fellowship Program


Second Annual Saharan Crossroads Fellowship Competition

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: October 15, 2013 - Apply Online

The American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS) and the West African Research Association (WARA) announce the second annual Saharan Crossroads Fellowship Competition.

Saharan Crossroads seeks to counter the conceptual divide separating North and sub-Saharan Africa and the tendency to view the Sahara Desert as an impenetrable barrier dividing the continent into the northern "white" and sub-Saharan "black" Africa. Countries to the north often find themselves placed in Mediterranean, Islamic, and Middle Eastern studies with little consideration of cultural, historical, or artistic contact with sub-Saharan countries, which are often considered more authentically "African." Despite trans-Saharan cultural contact spanning centuries, this inaccurate perception of Africa as two distinct zones separated by an empty wasteland of desert continues to influence the way people think about this region and the continent as a whole.

Contact among traders, scholars, artisans, and nomads set the stage for the emergence of richly diverse aesthetic expressions along the web of North to South and East to West routes crossing the Sahara as well as at their beginning and ending points. The Sahara and its peripheries continue to be platforms of interconnected peoples and cultures. The Saharan Crossroads Initiative is a partnership of AIMS, WARA and the Saharan Studies Association (SSA) that provides support for research, conferences and publications exploring the culture, geography, history, and sociology of this region.

US, North African and West African Scholars interested in conducting research in any part of North or West Africa concerning Saharan Crossroads are encouraged to apply for short-term fellowships (up to three months) for awards up to 3,000 USD. US scholars flying from the United States will receive an additional travel stipend.

Priority will be given to scholars conducting fieldwork in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia or anywhere in West Africa. Priority will also be given to scholars who have not received AIMS or WARA funding in the last two years. All Fellows are required to give a public lecture at an AIMS or WARC research center or other affiliated institution.

The competition is open to students, senior or independent scholars holding at least a Master's Degree. Research must be completed before Dec 31, 2014.

Applications must be submitted online. The deadline for submission of applications is October 15, 2013.

Awards will be announced in December 2013. This year there is funding for only three awards which will be given to one N. African scholar, one W. African scholar and one US Scholar.


2012: Getty Research Exchange Fellowship Program

DEADLINE: February 1, 2012 (now CLOSED)

PDF Document Instructions (PDF)

Word Document Application (Word Doc)

This program of research fellowships and seminars will serve to build cooperative networks among scholars from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen whose research and professional interests focus on art history. The program will draw on the resources, facilities, and contacts of American overseas research centers located in Algeria and Turkey to enable the recipients to further their research and to build professional networks in and among the host countries.

The 2012 fellowship program is open to scholars in Morocco who have already obtained a Ph.D. or have professional experience in the field of art history and who wish to undertake a specific research project in Algeria or Turkey related to the seminar theme: Art and Archaeology of the Sacred (Algeria) or Vision and Visual Culture in Byzantium (Turkey). Approximately ten fellows total will be selected – five to conduct research in Algeria and five to conduct research in Turkey.

Getty Research Exchange Fellows will receive a travel and living expense stipend of $7,500. The fellowship tenure will be June 9 to July 16, 2012, including an opening and closing seminar. A final report in English is due no later than September 17, 2012. Notification of fellowship status will be made available to each applicant via email by April 16, 2012.

Moroccan scholars must apply through AIMS-TALIM. Fellowship applicants will submit their research grant applications directly to AIMS-TALIM, which will in turn forward them, with comments, to CAORC. Fellows will be selected by an appropriate scholarly review panel appointed by CAORC and will be judged on the scholarly significance of their proposal and its importance to understanding the focus region and seminar theme; the potential value of any collaboration proposed; the feasibility of the research design; the applicant's research background; and quality of reference letter. CAORC will inform the applicants via email by April 16, 2012.

Fellowship Locations:

Art and Archaeology of the Sacred
Oran, Algeria | 9 June – 16 July 2012
Fellows should plan to arrive in Oran no later than 9 June 2012 and depart no earlier than 16 July 2012. The fellowship tenure is comprised of three sections:

  1. Opening Seminar: 10-11 June 2012: Fellows will gather with scholars from the Algerian academic community at an opening seminar.
  2. Independent Research: 12 June – 14 July 2012: Fellows will conduct independent research as described in their application. Research projects should relate to the seminar theme of Art and Archaeology of the Sacred.
  3. Closing Seminar: 15 July 2012: Fellows will reconvene to share their preliminary findings from their research.

Vision and Visual Culture in Byzantium
Istanbul, Turkey | 9 June – 16 July 2012
Byzantium was a profoundly visual culture, which has left us some of the singular monuments from the history of art and architecture, such as Hagia Sophia or the Chora Monastery. The purpose of the seminar is to investigate ways of looking and ways of seeing Byzantine art and architecture – that is, learning to "read" the monuments with the same nuance and insight a philologist would apply to a text. This may encompass several approaches, such as recreating the cultural context in which the monument or image was constructed or experienced; understanding the dynamic relationship of a painted or mosaic program and its architectural setting; interrogating the science of vision itself, as the Byzantines understood it; or contemplating the relationship of the cognitive visual process to spiritual understanding.

Fellows should plan to arrive in Istanbul no later than 9 June 2012 and depart no earlier than 16 July 2012. The fellowship tenure is comprised of three sections:

  1. Opening Seminar: 10-11 June 2012: Fellows will gather with scholars from the Turkish academic community at an opening seminar.
  2. Independent Research: 12 June – 14 July 2012: Fellows will conduct independent research as described in their application. Research projects should relate to the seminar theme of Vision and Visual Culture in Byzantium.
  3. Closing Seminar: 15 July 2012: Fellows will reconvene to share their preliminary findings from their research.

An application is not considered complete until AIMS-TALIM receives all documents:
1. Application form
2. Project description
3. One letter of recommendation
4. Curriculum Vitae, 3 pages maximum

Preferred Method of Submittal:

Please submit the application form, project description, and curriculum vitae in MS Word format via email to aims@aimsnorthafrica.org.

Please have your letter of recommendation sent directly from the letter writer to AIMS-TALIM via email (aims@aimsnorthafrica.org). Documents, scanned with signature, in PDF format are preferred.

Applicants are responsible for assuring that the American Institute for Maghrib Studies / Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (AIMS-TALIM) receives all documents by the deadline date, 1 February 2012.

*This program is made possible through support from the Getty Foundation.