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Rachel Mairs

Examinations Officer

Areas of interest

Multilingualism, ethnicity, cultural interaction, papyrology, epigraphy, central Asia, Hellenistic Egypt, Bactria and India, nineteenth-century Middle East.

I'm interested in the interaction between Greeks and "non-Greeks" in the Hellenistic world, with a particular emphasis on Egypt and on Central Asia. My PhD (Cambridge, 2006) was on ethnic identity in the "Hellenistic Far East" (Bactria-Sogdiana, Arachosia and India). My publications on the region include The Archaeology of the Hellenistic Far East: A Survey (2011), The Hellenistic Far East: Archaeology, Language and Identity in Greek Central Asia (2014) and The Graeco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek World (2020). I am one of the organisers of the Hellenistic Central Asia Research Network (HCARN).

I also work on ancient multilingualism, especially Greek-Egyptian. I have worked on collaborative research projects dealing with papyrological and epigraphic material, such as the AHRC-funded Corpus of Ptolemaic Inscriptions. With colleagues in Egypt and Canada, I run the blog Everyday Orientalism, which works to highlight the legacies of colonialism in papyrology and classics.

The modern Middle East interests me as much as the ancient Middle East. A chance find on eBay led me to publish the private papers of a nineteenth-century Palestinian tourist guide (The Dragoman Solomon Negima and his Clients, 2016). With a colleague, Maya Muratov at Adelphi University in the United States, I published a book on the interpreters and guides used by early British and American travellers in the Middle East (Archaeologists, Tourists, Interpreters, 2015). I have a new project on Europeans studying Arabic in the nineteenth-century.

Research centres and groups

Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (Steering Committee)

Background

Before coming to Reading, I worked at Brown University, the University of Oxford and New York University. My PhD was from the University of Cambridge.

Publications