History Department
History Department

Ashleigh Pearce wins 2018-19 Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarship

Thu, November 1, 2018
Ashleigh Pearce wins 2018-19 Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarship
Ashleigh Pearce, winner of the 2018-19 Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarship

The history department congratulates Ashleigh Pearce, winner of a prestigious Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarship for 2018-2019. The College of Liberal Arts awards this $3,000 scholarship to support the research of students writing honors theses. Pearce's thesis, "Finding the North African 'Abduh: Translating the Islamic Reform Movement across the Arabic-Speaking East and West," is being mentored by Professor Yoav Di-Capua.

Pearce's project considers the relationship between the Middle East and North Africa during the Arab Renaissance (Nahda) at the beginning of the twentieth century. "The study focuses on a prominent Muslim religious figure, Shaykh Muhammad 'Abduh, crossing the Mediterranean from Egypt to Algeria and Tunisia in 1903," she explains. "I'm using him as a conduit for exploring the repressed relationship between the eastern and western Mediterranean (Mashriq and Maghrib) during the height of European Imperialism."

Professor Di-Capua points out the significant language and interpretive skills Pearce has masteed in order to pursue this challenging research project. "Achieving near fluency in Arabic via enrollment in UT's Flagship Program, Ashleigh is currently working to decipher complex intellectual systems and networks of knowledge transmission during the early twentieth century," Di-Capua notes, "This is difficult terrain to navigate as it calls for advanced graduate skills. She has those firmly in place."

In the coming months, Pearce "will travel to France and North Africa in search of the spread of reformist Islam via the work of the exceptional thinker and Mufti Muhammad `Abduh (d. 1905). Thinking in trans-regional terms she is joining the current historiographical wave of thinking beyond the confines of the nation-state," explains Di-Capua. This Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarship will help Pearce advance her research and future career. She says that after graduation, "I'm going back to the Middle East to pursue a masters in Arabic Language and Literature, and then a doctorate in History."

The Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarships honor Audre and Bernard Rapoport and Robert D. King, former Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.=

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