May 28, 2020

Al-Tikriti Presents “Engaging with Higher Education in Azerbaijan”

On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a talk entitled “Engaging with Higher Education in Azerbaijan,” invited and hosted by Drexel University’s Global Education Curriculum. This talk was shaped by Prof. Al-Tikriti’s experiences as a Fulbright Scholar in Baku, Azerbaijan in academic year 2018-2019. In this presentation, he addressed points concerning American preconceptions of post-Soviet societies, Caucasus politics, and challenges of Higher Education in Azerbaijan. He wishes to thank Drexel University Professors Joyce Pittman and Kristy Kelly.

The event abstract read as follows: “In this talk, Prof. Nabil Al-Tikriti will describe his year serving as a Fulbright Scholar in Baku, Azerbaijan. In the course of that year, he compared his experiences teaching research methodology to undergraduates with Azerbaijani colleagues, conducted historical research in manuscript collections and university libraries, and assisted national counterparts in designing a proposed reform of Baku State University’s American Studies curriculum. In the course of his immersion, Prof. Al-Tikriti gained numerous insights into post-Soviet legacies in Higher Education, as well as in alternative models of university instruction.”

Those wishing to screen the presentation can access it via this event series link:

Devlin Discusses Segregation in National Parks on ‘With Good Reason’

Assistant Professor of History Erin Devlin

Assistant Professor of History Erin Devlin

Assistant Professor of History and American Studies Erin Devlin will be featured on an episode of ‘With Good Reason’ radio on WVTF Radio IQ beginning on Saturday, March 21. Devlin is working with Shenandoah National Park and four others throughout Virginia to examine the painful past and legacy of segregation in the parks and wilderness spaces and initiate more inclusive practices. Contracted by the National Park Services, she’s currently leading a unique study that will provide a more comprehensive picture of segregation in the parks through archival research and oral histories of those who experienced it. Once finished, the project will be used to develop more installations and resources – such as the one Devlin and her students recently completed at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park – that tell the stories of African American visitors to our national parks.

With Good Reason airs Sundays at 2 p.m. on Fredericksburg’s Radio IQ 88.3 Digital and at various times throughout the week on stations across Virginia and the United States. Check the website for show times.

Devlin Interviewed about National Parks Segregation Study on WVTF

Assistant Professor of History Erin Devlin

Assistant Professor of History Erin Devlin

Assistant Professor of History and American Studies Erin Devlin was interviewed by WVTF 88.3 Radio IQ about her study on segregation in Virginia’s national parks, commissioned by the National Park Service with the Organization of American Historians:

She’s poured over planning documents, blueprints, and maps in the hopes of understanding how segregation was implemented at the park. She’s built a whole filing cabinet full of sources. One drawer holds documents relevant to the state of Virginia, which resisted federal efforts to desegregate.

That evidence of segregation is right in front of park visitors all over Virginia, it’s just a matter of seeing it. “There are some picnic tables that are in an open meadow and there are other picnic tables that are in a shaded wood,” Devlin notes. “And that is a product of, in some cases, this legacy of planning for segregation and that there was a desire to tuck away African-American visitors in quiet corners of the parks.” Read more.

Moon Interviewed about Civil War Era Black Performer

Professor of History and Director of American Studies Krystyn Moon

Professor of History and Director of American Studies Krystyn Moon

Professor of History and American Studies Krystyn Moon was recently interviewed by Atlas Obscura about Thomas Dilward, one of the first African-American performers to tour with all-white minstrel troupes during the Civil War. Dilward made history as a member of these troupes, whose performances featured racist caricatures and exclusion, the article states. Later, he joined several black troupes that emerged after the Civil War.

Black troupes still performed white stereotypes of black people, but their performances allowed black people to gain some control over how they were portrayed on stage, and there were few other ways to make a living as a black performer, Moon says. Read more.


McClurken Interviewed by The Chronicle of Higher Education

UMW's Chief of Staff and Professor of History and American Studies Dr. Jeffrey W. McClurken

UMW’s Chief of Staff and Professor of History and American Studies Dr. Jeffrey W. McClurken

UMW’s Chief of Staff and Board of Visitors Clerk Jeff McClurken was recently featured on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “What I Wish I Had Known” series. In the video titled ‘Teaching Gives Me Credibility with Students,’ McClurken, a Professor of History and American Studies, spoke about how continuing to teach complements his role as an administrator. It leaves him “better equipped to participate in the strategic and tactical conversations about the institution,” he said.  View the video here.


Al-Tikriti Delivers Iraq Lecture at the Foreign Service Institute

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti

On Wednesday, January 8, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti delivered a lecture entitled “US-Iraqi Relations since 1979” at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, VA. This lecture was delivered as part of the “Iraq Familiarization Course,” targeted at State Department professionals and contractors scheduled to serve in Iraq.

Al-Tikriti Discusses Potential Azerbaijan Exchange Program and Collaborations

Prof. Al-Tikriti in Baku

On Wednesday, 18 December, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti discussed potential future student exchanges and program collaborations between the University of Mary Washington and ADA University of Baku, Azerbaijan. Prof. Al-Tikriti thanks Dr. Jose Sainz, Fariz Ismailzade, Gulnur Ismayil, and Milana Ibrahimova for assisting with this initiative.

Al-Tikriti Presents Keynote Address at History Workshop in Turkey

Conference Card

Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a keynote address entitled “Şehzade Korkut ve 16. Yüzyıl Osmanlısında Dini Kimlik Mücadeleleri / Şehzade Korkud and the 16th Century Struggles for Religious Identity” on Friday, December 13. Presenting this 40 minute address entirely in Turkish, Prof. Al-Tikriti summarized the biography and contributions of Prince Korkud (d. 1513), the son of Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II (d. 1512) for the “Uluslararası Katılımlı Şehzade Korkut Sempozyomu / International Attendee Şehzade Korkud Symposium.” The symposium, the first of its kind, was hosted by the Akdeniz Üniversitesi Ilahiyat Fakültesi / Mediterranean University Divinity School, of Antalya, Turkey. This was an invited appearance.

The symposium website includes further information, and photos.

Prof. Al-Tikriti would especially like to thank Professors Rifat Atay and Muhammet Fatih Duman, who organized the symposium and extended the invitation.

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti

Nabil Al-Tikriti Joins MESA Roundtable Discussion on TARII

Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti joined a roundtable entitled “Iraqi Studies across Disciplines: The Future for an Iraqi Research Center,” at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Conference on Friday, November 15, in New Orleans, LA.

The roundtable abstract was: “Due to the ongoing legacies of sanctions, authoritarianism, violence, and foreign interventions we have now suffered over 20 years of disconnect between international scholars, who do research in Iraq studies, and their ability to conduct that research inside of Iraq. Following on The Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TARII)’s recently established Center for Research in Baghdad we propose a roundtable to review the state of Iraq Studies in all disciplines and how our research center in Baghdad can contribute to the future of the field. TARII is a registered non-profit devoted to promoting scholarly research on and in Iraq and to strengthen relationships between Iraqi and American scholars and institutions. At this time in particular, Iraq’s important role on the world stage necessitates facilitating research on Iraq with a full and accurate context that can be best accessed inside Iraq. With this panel we hope to provide the opportunity for a robust discussion covering Iraqi history, contemporary politics, cultural heritage, and cultural production across disciplines today.”

Prof. Al-Tikriti originally intended to provide a summary of today’s scholarly literature addressing Iraq during the Ottoman era, he instead provided a set of ideas concerning the future of Iraqi studies with a newly re-opened TARII center in Baghdad, Iraq, based on his experiences with other regional research institutes.

Other participants in the roundtable included Drs. Alda Benjamin, Antoine Borrut, and Katharyn Hanson, who organized the event on behalf of TARII.

Al-Tikriti Presents Azerbaijan Paper at Central Eurasian Studies Society Conference

History of Baku's Manuscript Collection

History of Baku’s Manuscript Collection

Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a paper entitled “Some Notes on Manuscript Collections in Azerbaijan on Saturday, October 12. The presentation took place on a panel entitled Sources and Methodological Questions” in Washington, D.C., at the Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) Conference.

The paper abstract was: “This past year, while serving a Fulbright grant based at Baku State University (BSU), I was fortunate to explore Azerbaijan’s known manuscript collections. In the course of such explorations, I learned what I could about the history of such collections, their current state of preservation, and their place in regional book culture.

In this paper, I first provide a brief historical summary of Azerbaijan’s manuscript holdings, and an overview of what I understand to be the state of the country’s manuscript collections currently. As is widely known, manuscript collections in Azerbaijan suffered great disruption in the wake of the 19th century Russian imperial conquest, the Great War, and 1930s Soviet anti-religion campaigns. In light of these developments, I provide my views on the region’s early modern and modern manuscript history.

Following this overview, I concentrate on describing the history and current state of the ‘AMEA M. Fuzuli adina El Yazmalar Institutu,’ or ‘Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Manuscript Institute named after M. Fuzuli.’ For this portion, I describe the institute’s manuscript holdings, the importance of the most prominent texts, and the practicalities of conducting research at this institution. I also make general observations on the periods which this collection primarily covers, and the broader significance of this collection for national and regional historical research.”

This panel was chaired by Dr. Eren Tasar (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). In the same panel, Dr. Khodadad Rezakhani (Princeton University) presented a paper entitled ‘Diplomats on the Steppe: Ibn Fadlan, the Samanids, and the Rise of the Steppe Road’ and Dr. Sherzodhon Mahmudov (Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan) presented a paper entitled ‘Russian factors in Khoqand-Istanbul correspondences: analysis of letters of Khoqand rulers kept in Ottoman archives.'”