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2003 PRIZES

Best Dissertation Prize Dr. Elyse Semerdjian

Awarded to Dr. Elyse Semerdjian for her dissertation "'Off the straight path:' Gender, public morality and legal administration in Ottoman Aleppo, Syria," Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA 2002.

This complex dissertation focuses on the way early-modern Aleppines responded to zina crimes - criminal vice punishable by lashing or stoning. *Analyzing zina as a discrete element of law, Dr. Semerdjian shows how little the state was involved in the act of policing these crimes and rather, a strong community-based disciplining of pimps, prostitutes and adulterers was the norm. *This dissertation challenges notions of a strong role for the Ottoman state in the administration of local justice and also demonstrates how court records can be employed to shed new light on women's history in the early modern period.

Best Article Prize: Dr. James P. Grehan

is awarded to Dr. James P. Grehan for his "Street violence and Social Imagination in Late-Mamluk and Ottoman Damascus (ca 1500-1800)" International Journal of Middle East Studies (35:2, May
2003) 215-236.

This highly nuanced and thought-provoking article employs a vast array of local chronicles and relevant social theory to disaggregate the image of the "crowd" in early-modern Damascene history. Dr. Grehan uses changing popular and high culture attitudes towards crowd violence to reconstruct how the transition to Ottoman rule transformed broader Syrian political and intellectual culture. *Grehan's article is a testament to the growing sophistication of the field of early-modern Syrian history; it is also a unique contribution to the social history of non-West. *