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Dissertation Award
Stefan Winter, University of Chicago, History

"The Shiite Emirates of Ottoman Syria (mid-17th-mid-18th Century)"

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 Prize.

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 on evidence."

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. Winners
will be announced after the first of the year.

Prize Committee Members:
Keith Watenpaugh, Chair
Mary Wilson
Fred Donner

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.