Vana Kalenderian and Rima Majed Join FIME as Resident Scholars in Autumn 2021

We are very excited to introduce our new resident scholars Dr Vana Kalenderian and Dr Rima Majed, who will both be joining us for a three-month residency this autumn! The residency offers academics an opportunity to focus on their own research as part of the Institute’s small collegial work community. In addition to this, the resident scholars will organise a small activity aimed at the local and international academic community related to their own research.

The new Resident Scholar programme generated a lot of interest, and we were extremely happy to receive several very strong applications from a wide range of academic specialisations. We would like to thank all applicants for taking the time to present their research projects to us.

Congratulations Vana and Rima and welcome to the Institute!

Vana Kalenderian

Vana Kalenderian is an osteoarchaeologist who studies ancient mortuary practices in the Near East, with a focus on Roman Lebanon. She earned her Master of Science degree in Human Osteoarchaeology from the University of Edinburgh in 2013 and completed her PhD in Archaeology at the University of Groningen in 2020.

Her PhD thesis (“Resurrecting Berytus: a Contextual Analysis of Burials from Roman Beirut”) examined a large subset of burials from Roman Beirut and explored patterns of change and continuity in mortuary practice following the colonisation of the city. The study implemented an interdisciplinary approach through the examination of the material culture of the graves, the funerary epitaphs, and the osteological and isotopic analysis of the human remains. This multifaceted and integrated methodology ensured a contextual interpretation of the findings and a holistic understanding of how broader transitions linked to imperial assimilation, colonisation, migration, and inter-cultural contact influenced the social and cultural practices of the city’s inhabitants.

Vana has been involved in multiple excavation projects both in Lebanon and abroad. She continues to work closely with the Lebanese archaeology teams under the jurisdiction of the Lebanese Directorate General of Antiquities. In addition to field work, Vana is passionate about advancing local archaeological research and public outreach in Lebanon, and more broadly in the Middle East.

In addition to the archaeological sciences and exploring ancient health and lifestyles, her research interests include themes of imperialism and colonialism; migration and mobility; sociocultural change; expressions of individual and group identity; and ancient rituals and belief systems. Vana also runs a history and archaeology blog where she publishes articles aimed towards general audiences. During her residency at the Institute, Vana will expand her research on Roman Beirut by examining ancient diet and its links to health conditions, social status, geographic origins, and cultural practice.

Rima Majed is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies Department at the American University of Beirut (AUB). Her work focuses on the fields of social inequality, social movements, sectarianism, conflict, and violence. Rima has completed her PhD at the University of Oxford where she conducted her research on the relationship between structural changes, social mobilisation, and sectarianism in Lebanon. She was a visiting fellow at the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice at Princeton University in 2018/19.

Rima is the author of numerous articles and op-eds. Her work has appeared in several journals, books and media platforms such as Social Forces, Mobilization, Routledge Handbook on the Politics of the Middle East, Middle East Law and Governance Journal, Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of the Middle East, Global Dialogue, Idafat: The Arab Journal of Sociology, Al Jumhuriya, OpenDemocracy, Jacobin, Middle East Eye, CNN and Al Jazeera English.

She is also the co-editor of the upcoming book The Lebanon Uprising of 2019: Voices from the Revolution (I.B. Tauris), which she will be completing during her residency at the Institute.

Published 16 June 2021.