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Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

NME in 2002-3

From the School's Annual Report 2002-3

Five new colleagues joined the department’s teaching team this session. Dr Ayman El-Desouky (Arabic) and Dr Enrico Morano (mediaeval Iranian languages) arrived as fixed-term replacements for Professors Abu Deeb and Sims-Williams, who are both relieved of teaching as Leverhulme Major Research Fellows. Ms Fatima Rawan was appointed Lector in Arabic. Dr Serpil Bagci of the University of Hacettepe succeeded Dr Çetin as Ataturk Fellow in Turkish Studies. Dr Abdul Hakim Ibrahim al-Matroudi came from Leeds to take up a visiting lectureship in Arabic.

The department also hosted Professor Stefan Maul of the University of Heidelberg, who spent March 2003 with us as British Academy Visiting Professor of Assyriology, and welcomed back Professor Elsaid Badawi, who returned from the American University in Cairo to the department’s Centre of Islamic Studies as Zaki Yamani Research Fellow.

In December Professor Sims-Williams gave the Sir Harold Bailey Memorial Lectures in Cambridge. In the New Year the British Academy awarded him a grant of £19,712 to employ Dr Johnny Cheung as research assistant in a pilot project on Bactrian palaeography. This award continues Sims-Williams’s extraordinary success in winning external funding. At the Persian New Year on 20 March the department held its first Norouz party. The event was opened by Judy Pattison, the Mayor of Camden.

At the end of the session the department hosted with the London Middle East Institute at SOAS several events in connection with the 49e Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale ‘Nineveh’. The congress, which attracted almost 500 participants and was organized by Professor George, began with a dramatic reading of the Epic of Gilgamesh in the Brunei Gallery, led by Timothy West and Prunella Scales. Most of the 149 academic papers on ancient Iraq took place in the vast new Clore Education Centre at the British Museum, but a day-long workshop on Sumerian statecraft in the third millennium BC squeezed into the School's Brunei building.

Bruce Ingham, whom the department shares with Linguistics, has been promoted to Professor of Arabic Dialect Studies.

Inaugural lecture:

‘The inadvertent philologist: pitfalls in reading dead languages’ by Andrew George, Professor of Babylonian — 19 March 2003

This years publications include:

Indo-Iranian Languages and Peoples (Proceedings of the British Academy 116) Edited by Nicholas Sims-Williams Oxford University Press

The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: Introduction, Critical edition and Cuneiform Texts Andrew George Oxford University Press