Jamie Pelling *23 has been awarded MESA’s 2023 Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award (Humanities) for her dissertation, “Feeling Like a State: Anxiety and Optimism in the Late Ottoman Empire.” Co-advised by Michael A. Reynolds (NES) and Julia Elyachar (Anthropology), the “dissertation explores the anxiety and optimism of the last years of the Ottoman Empire in an exceptionally compelling fashion.” The citation adds that “With a creative use of eclectic sources and archives, and well-executed argument, Pelling delivers and connects theoretically sophisticated case studies of the Hijaz railway project, the Society for National Contribution to the Ottoman Navy, the Ottoman morality police, and the erotic journal Bin Bir Buse in early republican Istanbul. Pelling’s critical analysis introduces new terrain and presents an original argument that productively opens new ways of approaching a topic on which so much has already been written.”
Pelling is the fifth Near Eastern Studies graduate to win the Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award. Previous winners are Christopher Reed Stone (2003, Humanities), Joshua M. Landis (1997, Social Sciences), Christopher Schurman Taylor (1989, Humanities), and Cornell H. Fleischer (1982, Humanities). Three additional graduates received Honorable Mentions: Tamer El-Leithy (2005, Humanities), Khaled Medhat Abou El Fadl (2000, Humanities), and Mohammed Shahab Ahmed (1999, Humanities).