Postdoctoral fellow expands research in the UCLA Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

Published: March 8, 2023
(Photo courtesy of Alisée Devillers)

Anushka Chakrabarti | March 8, 2023 

Alisée Devillers joined the UCLA Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures as a postdoctoral researcher through a fellowship awarded by the Belgian American Educational Foundation.

Devillers, an Egyptologist archaeologist and art historian, originally applied for the fellowship in connection with a project that involved conducting research on ancient Egyptian stelae. “With this project, the idea was to pinpoint visual identity strategy used by people who were not meant to be seen in our Egyptological documentation so people who were not part of the elite,” Devillers said. 

After arriving at UCLA, Devillers has received several new opportunities. She is currently working with Professor Giorgio Buccellati (Cotsen Institute)’s team on the One-On-One Project bringing together children from various countries and making them reflect upon their own history and what it means for them to be from Egypt, Syria, Greece, or the United States. 

She also organized a workshop in collaboration with the Getty Museum related to the temporary exhibition “Nubia: Jewels of ancient Sudan” hosted at the Getty Villa. 

“The idea is to bring together academic researchers and contemporary artists and create a safe place where artists can share what obstacles they are running into in using ancient codes, like ancient iconography or texts, in their artwork. It’s mainly artists from Black American diaspora, and so it’s all about identity and how they manage to use ancient Egyptian culture, which was for a long time, and is often still, seen in a Western perspective.”

Her supervisor Kara Cooney, a professor of Egyptian art and architecture and chair of the department of Near Eastern languages and cultures, also invited Devillers to co-edit an open-access journal on ancient Egyptian art titled “Ancient Egyptian Art Studies. Art in Motion, a Tool of Power, Emulation and Resistance”.

“What I’m really excited about is that I am extending my networking by being here and working with so many people from so many different horizons,” Devillers said. “I will continue to add collaboration with my American colleagues, because it definitely has helped me to grow as a researcher.” 

Devillers is also hosting the podcast ScholarNotScholar, where she invites emerging scholars to share their research and individual path into the academic world.