Orit Bashkin Recognized by Humanities Division

The Division of Humanities at the University of Chicago announced that Orit Bashkin in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department is one of the five professors receiving research funding of $32,000 each on July 1, 2018, to advance their work in specific humanities field.

The Division of Humanities recognizes Bashkin for years of scholarly productivity in her specialty, and dedicated and outstanding teaching and service to the NELC Department, the Division of Humanities and the University of Chicago. “All of these colleagues have advanced the scholarship in their field both at home and abroad,” says Anne Walters Robertson, Dean of the Division of Humanities. “This generous funding will allow them greater flexibility as they carry out the work related to their research, for example, travel, costs of publication, research assistance, lecturers or post-doctoral scholars, and attending conferences.”

During the next three years, Bashkin has discretion to determine how she will allocate the funds to support her work. The funds have been provided through the generosity of the Humanities Council.

Orit Bashkin Ascends to a Leadership Role in Her Field

Immersed in writing about how Dreyfus Affair in France affected the Arab world in the Middle East, Orit Bashkin’s offbeat topic makes fundraising more challenging. So the UChicago Humanities professor was overwhelmed to receive $32,000 to support her ongoing scholarship efforts during the next three years.

“Having these funds to use at my discretion gives me a leadership role in my field,” says Bashkin, professor of modern Middle Eastern history in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department in the Division of Humanities at UChicago. “I can advance my research faster, help to promote junior scholars, and raise the profile of my scholarly work.”

For her current project about how the Jewish French army captain Alfred Dreyfus was first falsely condemned of handing secret documents to the imperial German military and later exonerated, she is exploring its aftermath. How did it affect Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Middle East? How did they articulated their own criticisms of European anti-Semitism? To help research the complex topic, Bashkin plans to hire one or two UChicago graduate student interns who read Arabic.

During UChicago Humanities Day on Oct. 20, she will present a session about the Dreyfus Affair. The all-day event on UChicago’s campus expects to draw about 1,000 registrants.

“These funds allow me to do great research and start conversations with other interested scholars across the world,” Bashkin says.

Additionally, she hopes to enrich the lecture series for the UChicago’s Division of Humanities by sponsoring presentations on Middle East cultural history, Iraq history, and the history of the Jews in the Middle East.

For the final 33 percent of the funds, Baskin expects to collaborate with UChicago organizations, such as the Franke Institute, Center for Jewish Studies, and the Center for Gender Studies, to discuss the relationship between gender, race, and colonialism in the Middle Ease, and how European race theory influenced the Middle East in their upcoming conferences. “Funding is so critical for conferences about humanities topics,” she says. “The effects of our scholarship in the humanities are not seen immediately, but our work does change perspectives and tackles critical issues.”