The following blog post was written by Yasmeen Hanoosh. In 2014, Dr. Hanoosh received the inaugural Evelyn Abdalah Menconi Travel Grant to visit the Arab American National Museum and conduct research. She describes her experience in this post. Learn more about the 2015 grant and how to apply.
Thanks to the generous Evelyn Abdalah Menconi Travel Grant, I was able to spend two productive weeks in southeast Michigan in June 2014, researching at the archives of the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn and conducting fieldwork among Chaldean- and Arab-Americans in the surrounding areas. One of the highlights of this visit was researching the new AANM archives, especially the extensive and highly organized Michael W. Suleiman Collection where I found several rare dissertations on the topic of my research. The environment of the whole museum was warm, professional, and helpful.
Thanks also to the strategic location of the archives, I was able to witness a number of local demonstrations related to the politics of the Middle East and Arab/Chaldean-American Detroit, network with ACCESS personnel, and conduct interviews with businesses, individuals, and families whose stories are essential for completing my research on identity politics within the Chaldean community. I also was able to reconnect with colleagues from the University of Michigan and other local institutions, forming a solid basis for the networking that is critical for successful completion of my book manuscript.
I returned home to Portland, Oregon to embark on using the materials I collected at AANM archives and elsewhere in southeast Michigan. In a short time, thanks to the professionalism and help offered by Matthew Stiffler, the museum’s research and content manager, and Kirsten Terry, librarian, I managed to collect relevant materials, organize them, and put them to use for my writing project. As I revise my book manuscript, I rely very much on the great advice and examples from this visit, as well as the continued support I receive from AANM personnel.