Alexander Brock '09, a philosophy major from Cincinnati, has been awarded a Fulbright research scholarship in Egypt.
Brock, who speaks Arabic and participated in Dickinson’s study abroad program in Egypt, will use the Fulbright award to conduct research in Islamic philosophy. He plans to research the revival of classical Islamic philosophy during the nahda, the Middle East cultural renaissance which lasted from 1850 to 1914. He will supplement his research with graduate-level course work at the American University in Cairo, where he will pursue a master’s degree in Islamic studies.
“This renaissance was most alive in Cairo, making it the natural choice for the location of this research,” Brock said. “Muslim intellectuals began to look to their own ancestry and heritage for answers to questions on how to live, instead of defaulting to the European way of doing things, which occupied a place of perceived cultural superiority during that time.”
Brock worked on his application with Jeremy Ball, assistant professor of history and campus liaison for the Fulbright program, Ed Webb, assistant professor of political science and international studies and coordinator of Middle East Studies, and Thomas Nadelhoffer, assistant professor of philosophy.
"Alex used his study abroad experience in Egypt to develop his Arabic language skills and to deepen his interest in Egyptian philosophy and jurisprudence,” Ball said. “It is precisely this type of deep engagement and learning that helped Alex to submit a substantial proposal to the Fulbright Commission.”
Webb said Brock “put together a very mature and ambitious proposal that will allow him to apply his talents and interests to the fullest. He will be exploring important documents and resources that are unique to Egypt.”
Nadelhoffer said Brock "used his time at Dickinson to hone both his interpersonal and research skills in a way that makes him ideally suited for the kind of interdisciplinary project he will be working on in Egypt. Given the current geo-political state of affairs, the work he plans to do will be as timely as it is important and interesting. I am very proud to have had Alex as a student and I look forward to seeing him continue to develop into an important scholar of Arabic philosophy."
Brock said his education at Dickinson College set him on the path toward a Fulbright award.
“First, it ignited in me a passion and love of philosophy,” he said. “Secondly, it introduced me to the Arabic language, with which I fell in love, and offered me the opportunity to study abroad in Cairo. This grant will be the collision of those two passions of mine, Arabic and philosophy, both of which I have cultivated as a direct result of my experiences at Dickinson College.
Brock competed not only with graduating college seniors, but with graduate students from across the United States, for the 15 coveted Fulbright awards to Egypt. He is the first Dickinsonian to receive a Fulbright award to Egypt since 1984, when Jerome Bookin-Weiner ’68 was awarded a Fulbright in Egypt and Israel.
Sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright program provides funding for students, scholars, teachers and professionals to undertake graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools. The Fulbright program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries.
Two recent Dickinson College graduates have been accepted as alternates for Fulbright scholarships. Glenda Garcia '09, a women’s and gender studies major from Los Angeles, has been accepted as an alternate for an English teaching award in Thailand. Alexander Barlow '09, an economics and Spanish major from Ambler, Pa., has been accepted as an alternate for an English teaching award in Spain. Garcia and Barlow, who graduated on Sunday, would receive the scholarships if the finalists awarded ahead of them decline to accept the award.
Last year a record nine Dickinsonians were honored with Fulbright grants. They joined the more than 60 Dickinsonians who have received Fulbright grants over the years.
Published May 19, 2009