Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Elizabeth Peterson

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities, Summer 2021

 Research Project: Tomb in paradise: The preservation of the Tomb of Cyrus the Great during the Islamic Revolution

Project Description: The 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran saw the destruction of many monuments to previous regimes.  Why was Cyrus’s tomb preserved when other pre-Revolution monuments were razed? I answer this question through the analysis of secondary sources about Cyrus’s tomb, architecture, and nationalism. I combine this approach with the examination of primary photographic and documentary footage of the tomb. 

What have you learned throughout your research project? 

I learned how to plan, research, write, and present a long form paper. The Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities (SIAH) allowed me to learn about how history is written and how monuments are created and memorialised. My mentors encouraged me to study a topic that I was interested in and provided me with support at all stages of the process. I also learned how to analyse secondary sources including scholarly works on nationalism.

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

Researching and writing can be daunting, but have confidence in yourself. Mentors are invested in their students and want to help them succeed. I recommended asking questions about whatever programme you’re applying for to make sure it is a good fit for you. I also recommend that you approach your mentor and the university librarians with whatever questions you have.