Office Hour: Professor Laurel Bestock

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Hi! I’m Alina Joharjian, a first-year at Brown from Cranston, Rhode Island. Although I am plenty acquainted with life in Providence since I am a local, I am super excited to delve into the world of academia at Brown and take you on that journey with me! In the Office Hour column, learn more about the brilliant professors of the Brown community.

The idea of ancient cultures is one that, for certain, is not new to many of you readers. Remember when you learned about pharaohs, tombs, mummies, etc, back in middle school? I know, let’s not talk about those days… Well, those concepts are not so far away at Brown. Interestingly, the Introduction to Egyptian Archaeology and Art is one of Brown’s most popular courses. Highly recommended by many, this week I sat down to talk to the course’s amiable professor, Laurel Bestock.

Professor Bestock, whose own personal archaeology projects tie her to Egypt and Sudan, said her course is popular because the ancient cultures are something that people connect to. No matter where you are in the world, you study these concepts for a period of time during your school years. She advocated that those interested in the subject take an intro class. She agreed that the subject may seem daunting, but it is definitely doable.

(Side note: Trust me, especially in your first semesters at Brown, you will do a lot of exploring with your classes. My advice is not to be set on a certain major when you arrive here. Or, at least, don’t start with 4 courses that fulfill the requirements of your “major.” I put major is quotation marks because I have met a handful of first-years who came in with their mind totally set on a certain concentration. Your education at Brown isn’t a barter; you don’t come in, take all your classes for your courses and then leave. Rather, the intellectual process and discovery that occurs as you sojourn to get your degree is valued. Essentially, my advice is to take classes that you find interesting. Be open-minded! Explore while you can! Maybe you will be surprised by the results.)

 As my above tangent mentions, Brown is a place for exploration. Professor Bestock, herself, loved the diversity present in her classes. With the range of students in her classes comes a range of interesting perspectives and ideas that come from various backgrounds.

As for the Archaeology Department, Professor Bestock praised the intellectual collaboration among faculty. She also relayed that the department is very broad, as it isn’t tied to a particular region. Furthermore, she celebrated the faculty’s care for their teaching as well as the excitement that they bring to class. Through my own interaction with Bestock during our discussion, I can wholeheartedly agree.

Any questions or comments? I’d love to respond to you! Reach me at alina_joharjian@brown.edu.

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