Near Eastern Studies held its 2021 Class Day on May 24 virtually. During the celebration, the Department and Program announced departmental honors and presented this year’s prize winners. Following opening remarks by NES Chair M. Qasim Zaman, Director of Undergraduate Studies Jonathan Gribetz began the presentations. Grace Masback won the Bayard and Cleveland Dodge Memorial Thesis Prize for her thesis, “Four Letters, Three Languages, Two Continents, One Network: The Sephardic Trade Diaspora in the 18th Century Ottoman Empire,” supervised by Eve Krakowski. The Near Eastern Studies Department Prize for an Outstanding Senior Thesis and the Ertegün Foundation Thesis Prize for Best Senior Thesis in Ottoman, Turkish, or Turkic Studies were awarded to Haeley Ahn for her thesis, “Al-Shidyaq’s Women: Performing a ‘Gendered Reading’ of Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq’s al-Saq ʿala al-Saq (Leg over Leg),” advised by Max Weiss. Tara Shirazi received the T. Cuyler Young Award for Iranian Studies for her thesis, “Land Reform as the Catalyst for Modernization in Pahlavi Iran: The Case of Khuzestan,” advised by Hossein Modarressi. The Department of Near Eastern Studies Prize for Best Junior Paper went to Youssef Abdallah for his junior paper, “Muslim Women and Sports in Islamic Societies,” advised by M. Şükrü Hanioğlu.
Highest honors were awarded to Haeley Ahn, high honors were awarded to Dina Kuttab, Grace Masback, and Alexandra Veyne, and honors were awarded to Dany Alkurdi and Tara Shirazi.
Senior Lecturer Nancy Coffin awarded the language prizes. The Near Eastern Studies Senior Language Prize for Overall Achievement in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish was awarded to Alexandra Veyne, and the Judith Laffan Memorial Prize for Outstanding Progress and Dedication to the Arabic language was awarded to Meredith Gallagher.
Director of the Program in Near Eastern Studies Marina Rustow then presented the Program in Near Eastern Studies Senior Thesis prize, which was shared by Hamza Hashem, for his thesis, “The Structure of Ambivalence,” and Imane Mabrouk for her thesis, “What I’m Living is Not A Life”: Irregular Economic Migration at the Spanish-Moroccan Border and the Human Rights of African Youth.”
Director of Graduate Studies Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi announced the graduate prizes. The Bayard and Cleveland Dodge Memorial Prize for PhD Dissertation went to Peter Kitlas for his dissertation, “Divinely Guided Ambassadors: Ottoman and Moroccan Roots of Modern Diplomacy in the Eighteenth Century Mediterranean,” advised by M’hamed Oualdi, and the Near Eastern Studies Department Prize for an Outstanding PhD Dissertation went to Tommy Benfey for his dissertation, “The Scholars of Sasanian Iran and Their Islamic Heirs,” advised by Michael A. Cook.
The virtual Class Day Ceremony also featured live and videotaped tributes to the graduates by faculty advisors and mentors.