Ünver Awarded MESA's 2010 Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Prize

April 14, 2011

H. Akın Ünver, the 2010–11 Ertegün Lecturer in Near Eastern Studies, was awarded the 2010 Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences at the MESA Annual Meeting in San Diego last November. The award is named after the late Malcolm H. Kerr ’53, a prominent political scientist and President of the American University in Beirut, and recognizes “exceptional achievement in research and writing for/of dissertations in Middle East studies.”

The award’s citation read:

Dr. Unver’s dissertation approached the complex and thorny Kurdish Question with scholarly objectivity and thoroughness. Focusing on legislative discursive constructions of this Question as they appear in debates in the United States Congress, the European Parliament and the Turkish Grand Assembly, he identified the role played by legislators’ ideological orientations and political interests in defining an intra-state problem. Dr. Unver makes a strong case for the higher explanatory value of discourse analysis in determining whether and how the manner in which a political issue is talked about affects policy decisions. The committee commends Dr. Unver for the sophistication of his theoretical discussion and the rigor of his methodology.

Ünver completed his dissertation, "How to Define Turkey's Kurdish Question? A Comparative Analysis of the Discourses in the US Congress, EU Parliament and Turkish National Assembly," in the Department of Government, University of Essex, under the guidance of David McKay.