Near Eastern Studies Celebrates Class Day 2023

May 29, 2023

Near Eastern Studies held its 2023 Class Day reception in Jones 102 on May 29, 2023. During the celebration, the Department and Program announced departmental honors and presented this year’s prize winners. Following welcoming remarks by NES Director of Graduate Studies Marina Rustow, Director of Undergraduate Studies Eve Krakowski spoke about the major of Near Eastern Studies.

Next, Professors Michael Reynolds and Jonathan Gribetz introduced the graduating seniors, Hector Betanzos and Zev Mishell, and briefly described their theses. The following prizes and honors were then awarded: Zev Mishell earned honors and received the Bayard and Cleveland Dodge Memorial Thesis Prize for his senior thesis, “‘Kahana Tzadak’: The Rise of the Israeli Far Right and the Legacy of Rabbi Meir Kahane,” advised by Jonathan Gribetz; Isaac Wills won the Program in Near Eastern Studies Senior Thesis Prize for his thesis, “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition: Protest, Petition, and Prison in British South Africa, 1875-1906;” Shane Patrick ’24 was awarded the Department of Near Eastern Studies Prize for Best Junior Paper for his work, “Chalcedon and the Sultan: Ayyubid Sultanic Engagement with Coptic Christology in the Life of Cyril III ibn Lala,” advised by Michael Cook; Sam Kagan ’24 received a Junior Paper Honorable Mention for his paper, “'Kadima, Kadima B’Speed!': Narratives of Palestinian Exclusion, Zionist Triumph, and Mechanical Failure aboard Haifa’s Carmelit Funicular (1900–2023),” advised by Lara Harb, as did Rebecca Roth ’24 for her paper, “Taliban Poetry: An Insight into the Militant Mindset?” advised by Bernard Haykel; and Delaney Savidge ’24 earned the T. Cuyler Young Award for Persian Studies for her paper, “Agentively and the Morpho-syntax Interface: The Structure of -gar Nominals in Farsi.”

Director of Graduate Studies Marina Rustow next presented the graduate prizes. The Bayard and Cleveland Dodge Memorial Prize for PhD Dissertation went to Sarah Islam for her dissertation, “Blasphemy (Sabb al-Rasul) as a Legal Category in Medieval Islamic History (1st/7th-13th/19th Centuries),” advised by Michael Cook, and the Near Eastern Studies Department Prize for an Outstanding PhD Dissertation was given to Varak Ketsamanian for his dissertation, “The Armenian Constitutional Order in the Late Ottoman Empire: From Reform to Crisis,” advised by M. Şükrü Hanioǧlu.

Senior Lecturer Nancy Coffin concluded the formal activities by presenting the language prizes. The Near Eastern Studies Senior Language Prize for Overall Achievement in Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, or Turkish was awarded to Yusuf Kocaman, and the Judith Laffan Memorial Prize for Outstanding Progress and Dedication to the Arabic language was awarded to Yonah Berenson '25.