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The 2005 Best Dissertation Award



November 14, 2005

The Foundation for Iranian Studies is pleased to announce that the Committee on Selection of the Best Dissertation of the Year on a Topic of Iranian Studies of the Foundation for Iranian Studies has chosen Dr. Dagmar A. Riedel’s dissertation “Searching for the Islamic Episteme: The Status of Historical Information in Medieval Middle-Eastern Anthological Writing,” submitted to the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Indiana University, as the recipient of the Foundation's annual Ph.D. dissertation award for the academic year 2004-2005.

In making its decision, the Committee, following the criteria established by the Foundation’s Board of Directors, noted, in part, an "exceptional contribution to the field of Iranian Studies by bringing together an extraordinary array of primary and secondary sources in a variety of languages to support an innovative approach to the study of manuscripts as a tool of learning about structure, continuity and change in society and religion specifically in medieval Western Iran and generally in the Islamic Middle East from the pre-Mongol invasion through the Safavid-Ottoman political and religious bifurcation to modern times… by stating clearly the study’s problematic and theoretical framework… by rigorous use of method to demonstrate convincingly the interdependence of Persian and Arabic literary traditions as an impetus to and a reflection of religion-history interaction in the Islamic Middle East… by grounding meaning in time and space… by excellent organization of the work.”

The Committee also cited Talinn Grigor’s dissertation “Cultivat(ing) Modernities: The Society for National Heritage, Political Propaganda, and Public Architecture in Twentieth Century Iran,” submitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Naghmeh Sohrabi’s dissertation “Signs Taken for Wonder: Nineteenth Century Persian Travel Literature to Europe,” submitted to Harvard University, with honorable mention for high scholarship, originality, clarity, and significant contribution to the field of Iranian studies.