Stefan Winter, University of Chicago, History
"The Shiite Emirates of Ottoman Syria (mid-17th-mid-18th
The Syrian Studies Association is pleased to announce that Dr.
Stefan Winter, a graduate of the University of Chicago's History
Department, and currently an assistant professor at Erfurt University,
Germany, has won the association's 2002 Best Doctoral Dissertation
Entitled, "The Shiite Emirates of Ottoman Syria (mid-17th-mid-18th
Century)," Dr. Winter's dissertation was cited by the prize
committee as setting a new standard in the historiography of Ottoman
Syria. The work is both a microhistory of a group of Twelver Shiite
families deputized by the Ottoman state as mukataaci agents of rule
and a broadly synthetic work that seeks to situate these otherwise
heterodox groups against the backdrop of larger themes in Ottoman
and European early modern history. The work also sheds light on
the neglected history of Shiism in the Ottoman Empire by elegantly
and fluently mobilizing new and untapped materials in Ottoman, Arabic
and European languages.
In the words of the judges, "This is clearly a work of great
distinction," it "contradicts the popular and professional
picture of the Ottomans as Islamic rulers, activated foremost by
religious purposes...This is a phenomenal piece of research, using
very difficult sources, and an analysis, based not in theory but
As chair of the committee, let me also add that the strength and
depth of submissions for the prize -- a diverse pool including work
on ethnomusicology, economic history, and contemporary political
economy -- shows that Syrian Studies is emerging as a vigorous and
vibrant field of study.
The Syrian Studies Association Best Article Prize is ongoing.
will be announced after the first of the year.
Prize Committee Members:
Keith Watenpaugh, Chair
Honorary Membership Award
given to Abdul-Karim Rafeq in 2002
The Syrian Studies Association has voted to award Abdul-Karim Rafeq,
professor at William & Mary College in Williamsburg and at the
University of Damascus, as its first lifetime honorary member. This
award recognizes scholars who have done outstanding research on
Bilad-al-Sham and who have made a lifelong generational impact on
Syrian studies. Moreover, the SSA wishes to sincerely thank Professor
Rafeq for his continual support of our association and for his support
of younger scholars in the field. Congratulations, Professor Rafeq.