Near Eastern Studies Celebrates Class Day 2022

May 24, 2022

Near Eastern Studies held its first in-person Class Day since 2019 on May 23, 2022. During the celebration, the Department and Program announced departmental honors and presented this year’s prize winners. Following opening remarks by NES Chair Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Director of Undergraduate Studies Eve Krakowski introduced the graduating seniors, Youssef Ibrahim Abdallah and Ethan Kahn, and briefly described their theses before moving on to the prizes and honors. Ethan Kahn earned highest honors, and Zev Mishell won the Department of Near Eastern Studies Prize for Best Junior Paper for his work, “Rebel Rabbis: The Radical Political Theologies of Joel Teitelbaum and Elmer Berger,” advised by Eve Krakowski.

Senior Lecturer Nancy Coffin next awarded the language prizes. The Near Eastern Studies Senior Language Prize for Overall Achievement in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish was awarded to Ethan Kahn, and the Judith Laffan Memorial Prize for Outstanding Progress and Dedication to the Arabic language was awarded to Ilia Curto Pelle.

Assistant Professor Daniel Sheffield then announced the winner, Edith Chen, of the T. Cuyler Young Award for Persian Studies for her dissertation, “Southern Iranian Vassal States under the Ilkhanate (1220–1300),” advised by Michael Cook.

Director of Graduate Studies Michael Cook presented the graduate prizes. The Bayard and Cleveland Dodge Memorial Prize for PhD Dissertation went to Alexander Balistreri for his dissertation, “The Persistence of the Periphery: Domination and Change in the Anatolian-Caucasian Borderland,” advised by Michael Reynolds, and the Near Eastern Studies Department Prize for an Outstanding PhD Dissertation went to Ekaterina Pukhovaia for her dissertation, “Between Sultans and Imams: The State and Political Elites in Yemen (Late 15th–Middle of 17th Century),” advised by Michael Cook.

Eve Krakowski concluded the formal activities of the reception by presenting the Program in Near Eastern Studies Senior Thesis prize, which was shared by Isa Thange for her thesis, “Constructing Legitimacy: The Political and Security Effects of Reconstruction Spending in Iraq,” and Zeytun West for her thesis, “Kpop and Islam in Turkey: The Pious Generation and the Heathen’s Music.”