!مرحبا يا اصدقاء
I am writing to you from Amman, Jordan where I am in the last week of my internship. I am still in disbelief over how fast these two months have gone by.
This summer I have been interning at ACOR, the American Center of Oriental Research. ACOR is a research center with a focus in archaeology, although they support research all across the humanities. Located near the University of Jordan, ACOR provides several valuable resources to students, researchers, and the general public. ACOR has a library, an extensive online catalog, a conservation lab, and an impressive photo archive. The center also hosts lectures and fellowships!
As an intern at ACOR, I have helped on a wide range of projects. When I first arrived, ACOR was celebrating their 50thanniversary so I was able to assist with the preparations for their 50thgala! Some of my other tasks have included developing ACOR’s social media presence, working on fellowship outreach, and other administrative duties.
Since ACOR has played a major role in supporting various archaeological projects in Jordan, I also had the opportunity to go on a site visit. I was able to visit Umm al-Jimal in Mafraq, Jordan. This was one of my favorite days at work because it totally changed my perspective on archaeology, a subject I was relatively new too. At Umm el-Jimal, the ACOR / USAID SCHEP team is working on restoring aqueducts from the Roman period to solve Mafraq’s water shortage. By repairing these ancient infrastructures, they will be able to bring 12 million more liters of water to the region each year! The Umm el-Jimal project is a great example of how the archaeological work that ACOR supports in the region does not operate in a vacuum; rather, conservation efforts are partnered with community building and developing economic opportunity.
Not everyone at ACOR focuses on archaeology/anthropology though. ACOR’s fellows are busy researching a wide range of topics from the impact of land-reform to the effect of aid work on Jordan’s economy. One of my (other) favorite days at work was when some of the fellows presented their findings. I was really intrigued by Rawan Arar’s lecture on her research on the global system of refugee management, with Jordan at the center. Rawan’s lecture encouraged us to think critically about which refugee stories are readily accepted by the global north and which narratives are often left out.
Overall, my time interning at ACOR has been surprising, inspiring, and challenging in the best ways possible. One aspect of ACOR that I hope will give you a better sense of this place is that at 2:00 pm every day, everyone gathers in the dining hall for lunch. It’s my favorite hour of the day, not just because the food is so good, but because you get to connect with all kinds of people who are at ACOR for a variety of reasons.
After work on Mondays and Wednesdays, I take classes in Jordanian Arabic. For those of you who don’t study Arabic, Modern Standard (which we learn at Conn) is different from Spoken Arabic (which also differs within each country). It’s been tough learning a whole new set of grammar and vocabulary, but spoken Arabic is a lot of fun to learn because you can practice everywhere you go. Taking taxis here has actually been the best way to practice my Arabic. Everyone is so friendly and willing to not only talk, but also teach me when I am making mistakes!
When I am not in class, I am often trying to explore Amman’s music and arts scene. I have seen some great concerts and have been to the National Gallery of Arts and Darat al-Funun many times—both of which are great places to look at art, meet people, and study. After this summer, I have decided that my SIP will focus specifically on contemporary Syrian literature and aims to study the Syrian war by examining the construction of time, nation, and border in recent fiction and poetry. I have been really lucky to meet a lot of wonderful writers here who have inspired my research and have helped me find valuable resources for my SIP.
Anyway, I attached a bunch of photos below so go check them out! I am going to miss Amman, but I am so grateful for my time here. Thank you CISLA for making this opportunity possible and I hope all my fellow CISLA scholars are having a great summer!
آمل أن أعود في المستقبل. إن شاء الله