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Dissertation Award

The best PhD dissertation on a theme of Iranian Studies is chosen based on several criteria, including imagination, novelty of approach, clarity in stating the problematic, theoretical foundation, methodological rigor, efficient and intelligent use of primary source material, and quality of fieldwork, among others.

The Foundation may also recognize up to two runner-up dissertations with honorable mention and subject to budgetary considerations and the decision of an advisory board of readers, may also help towards the publication of outstanding dissertations.

Each year the award is granted to a dissertation approved during that academic year and announced in October/November of the year for which it is granted.

Dissertations must be nominated by the author's advisor and be accompanied by the Dissertation Committee's letter of acceptance. A digitized copy of the dissertation must be submitted by August 15 either on a disc to

Foundation for Iranian Studies
Suite 200, 4343 Montgomery Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814

or emailed to
fis@fis-iran.org or

Notice of the awards appears in the MESA and ISIS mail lists and journals, in Iran Nameh, and in various Persian language and other academic publications. It will also be posted on the FIS website.

The award for 2014 was conferred on Eric Sander Lob on November 20, 2014 with the following announcement.


Foundation for Iranian Studies

Announcement of the Recipient of Award


The Best Ph.D. Dissertation on a Topic of Iranian Studies, 2014


November 20, 2014


The Foundation for Iranian Studies is pleased to announce that the Committee on Selection of the Best Ph.D. Dissertation of the Year on a Topic of Iranian Studies of the Foundation for Iranian Studies has chosen Eric Sander Lob’s dissertation “An Institutional History of the Iranian Construction Jihad: From Inception to Institutionalization (1979-2011),” submitted to the Faculty of the Princeton University, as the recipient of the Foundation's annual Ph.D. dissertation award for the academic year 2013-2014.

In making its decision, the Committee, following the criteria established by the Foundation’s Board of Directors, noted that Eric Lob has made an "exceptional contribution to the field of Iranian and Middle Eastern Studies” by, among other achievements, “stating clearly the study’s problematic… constructing an adequate and efficient theoretical framework…developing and using successfully a rigorous methodology to bring together a significant array of primary and secondary sources, including critical information secured through interviews judiciously conducted in the field in Iran and abroad, to support an innovative approach to the empirical study of post-revolutionary politics in general and politics of the Islamic Republic in particular, using the evolutionary history of the Iranian Construction Jihad (Jihad-e Sazandegi) as a case… methodically connecting data, text, and speech to achieve a credible framework for studying the ways and means states may employ to achieve and maintain control over otherwise chaotic and uncertain post-revolutionary conditions… successfully tracing the political and administrative outlines for, and establishing the importance of, routinizing revolutionary rigor into efficient institutions in support of state domestic and foreign policy…excellent organization of the work.”

The Committee also cited Michael Shenkar’s dissertation “Anthropomorphic Iconography of Iranian Deities in the Pre-Islamic Iranian World” submitted to the Senate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Shawhin Roudbari’s dissertation “Transnational Transformation of Architecture Practice: Iranian Architects in the New Geography of Professional Authority, 1945-2012” submitted to the Graduate Division of the University of California, Berkeley, with honorable mention for superior scholarship, originality, clarity, and significant contribution to Iranian Studies.

Notice of the awards will appear in the Foundation’s interactive web, in Iran Nameh, MESA and ISIS journals, and in various Persian and English language academic publications.

Gholam Reza Afkhami


Ph.D. Dissertation Awards Committee


Foundation for Iranian Studies

To see a list of the recipients of the Foundation's award over the past years, Click here.


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