Rustow’s The Lost Archive Awarded 2022 Haskins Medal

Jan. 28, 2022

Lost Archive cover
Marina Rustow’s The Lost Archive: Traces of a Caliphate in a Cairo Synagogue (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020) has been awarded the 2022 Haskins Medal by The Medieval Academy of America. The citation read in part: The Lost Archivedisplays an astonishing level of technical virtuosity, stitching together a masterful analysis of Fatimid administrative practices from, literally, the scraps of records that had been torn up, repurposed, written over, and then thrown away. From these evanescent traces, it also draws broad and well-founded conclusions about the structures of medieval Islamic governments, the lingering effects of Orientalism in Western scholarship, and the nature of archives themselves. It transforms key paradigms not just within medieval studies but also in the fields of Islamic Studies, Jewish Studies, Mediterranean Studies, and Near and Middle Eastern Studies. … [Rustow’s] book is alive with the joys of intense scholarly endeavor. The Lost Archive excels on multiple levels, makes important contributions to several fields, and speaks to a wide range of readers.

“The Haskins Medal is awarded annually by the Medieval Academy of America for a distinguished book in the field of medieval studies. It is the Academy's most prestigious award and is usually granted to a relatively senior scholar for a work of their maturity. Seniority is not an absolute requirement, but the award seems especially worthy if it recognizes both a distinguished book and a fruitful career.

First presented in 1940, the award honors Charles Homer Haskins, the noted medieval historian, who was a founder of the Medieval Academy and its second President. The award is announced at the annual meeting of the Academy each spring. The medal was designed in 1939 by Graham Carey, and the name of the recipient and the year of the award are engraved on the edge.

Books published between 2016-2020 were eligible for the 2022 Haskins Medal.

Click on this link, Haskins Committee statement, to read the full citation. Rustow is Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East, Professor of Near Eastern Studies and History, Director of the Program in Near Eastern Studies, and the Director of the Geniza Lab.