January 4, 2021
Longtime AIA member, Sinclair Bell was recently awarded a research Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support his research on visual and material evidence of race and ethnicity in the Roman Empire. The NEH awarded $32.8 million in grants to 213 humanities projects, including Bell’s work; they fund approximately 8 percent of proposals.
Bell’s work will investigate Roman representations of the peoples they referred to as Aethiopians (“black” Africans), as well as exploring issues of social functions, patronage, and viewership of these works. The cultural record of the Roman Empire provides evidence of many encounters with Aethipoians; encounters that were a combination of imagined and real. These encounters and the resulting visual and material culture defined complex social and power hierarchies of the Roman Empire.
Bell’s work has previously been supported by grants from the American Philosophical Society and the Hutchins Center for African American Research at Harvard University.