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Middle East Studies Instructor Awarded Prestigious Israel Studies Fellowship

Professor Charlyn Ingwerson was recently awarded a prestigious fellowship at the Summer Institute for Israel Studies by the Schusterman Center at Brandeis University. The fellowship takes place during the summer and occurs in two parts.

First, the fellows engage in an intensive two weeks in Boston with all-day seminars. However, before they get there, they each will read and analyze 10 texts. In the following two weeks, they will learn more about how to format classes and syllabi over the study of Israel.

Second, the fellows will spend two weeks in Israel visiting cultural sites and getting a more hands on immersion into their subject matter.

The idea is that Professor Ingwerson will come back to Drury after the summer prepared to teach a high-quality course that has content relating to Israel. The Institute encourages professors to create courses based on “history, politics, film, Jewish studies, religion, law, anthropology, linguistics, security studies and more.”

Professor Ingwerson’s focus, however, is on the literary.

“I hope,” Ingwerson said, “to come away from this experience with a deeper understanding of Israeli stories, and of community practices and experiences from which those stories have emerged. It’s easy to think of other societies as monolithic, but Israel is anything but a mono-narrative! I hope to broaden my knowledge of Israeli texts, fiction especially, and I look forward to meeting new authors and readers.”

Professor Ingwerson currently teaches Literature Matters: Middle East for Drury’s Middle East Studies Program and the Drury Department of Languages and Literature. In the most recent iteration of this class she has had students studying and reading texts from Iran, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

“[This course offers] an opportunity to reflect upon our shared story—the story of humanity that is composed, is being composed, by all of our stories—and the importance of listening to the stories of others to know ourselves and the role our narratives have had on others,” explains Ingwerson, “Literature can teach us to look for characters, to seek them out, to consider their struggle, and to partner with them in that struggle which is, ultimately, our shared human vulnerability.”

Her interest in these literatures was born of her seminary experience, study of Biblical languages and sacred texts, her experience teaching classic works of fiction, and her research in Motherhood Studies and nonviolent resistance.

She feels that women’s studies in particular offer an interesting lens into the Middle Eastern world.

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Story by Johan Englèn