Previous Winners


The following scholars have received The Foundation's Ph.D. dissertation award over the past years:


2021 Paul Gerard Anderson

Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University. A Deluge of Tears: The Conflux of Persian Shi`i Literature, Ritual, and Identity in Martyrdom Narratives


2020 Khalil Andani

Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University. Revelation in Islam: Qur’ānic, Sunni, and Shiʿi Ismaili Perspectives


2019 Muhammad Umar Faruque

Graduate Division of the University of California, Berkeley. The Labyrinth of Subjectivity: Constructions of the Self from Mullā Ṣadrā to Muḥammad Iqbāl


2018 Viola Allegranzi

Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, Sorbonne Paris Cité, and Naples, L'Orientale. Les Inscriptions Persanes de Ghazni,  Afghanistan: Nouvelles sources pour l’étude de l’histoire culturelle et de la tradition épigraphique ghaznavides (Ve-VIe/XIe-XIIe siècles) 


2017 Kusha Sefat

Board of Graduate School, Queen's College, University of Cambridge. Tehran: The Politics of Things


2016 Salimeh Maghsoudlou

Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, CNRS et Sorbonne. La pensée de 'Ayn al-Quḍāt al-Hamadānī (m. 525/1132), entre avicennisme et héritage ġazālien


2015 Daniel Beben

Faculty of the Graduate School of Indiana University, The Legendary Biographies of Nâsir-i Khusraw: Memory and Textualization in Early Modern Persian Ismâ`îlism


2014 Eric Sander Lob

Faculty of Princeton University, An Institutional History of the Iranian Construction Jihad: From Inception to Institutionalization, 1979-2011


2013 Ata Anzali

Faculty of Religious Studies, Rice University, Safavid Shi`ism, the Eclipse of Sufism and the Emergence of `Irfan


2012 D. Gershon Lewental

Faculty of Graduate School of Arts and Siences, Brandeis University, Qadisiyyah, Then and Now: A Case Study of History and Memory, Religion , and Nationalism in Middle Eastern Discourse 


2011 Roham Alvandi

Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford University, Nixon, Kissinger and the Shah: US-Iran Relations and the Cold War, 1969-1976


2010 Zuzanna Olszewska

Faculty of Anthropology, Wolfson College, Oxford University  Poetry and its Social Contexts among Afghan Refugees in Iran


2009 Francesca Leoni

Faculty of Art and Archeology, Princeton University The Revenge of Ahriman: Images of Divs in the Shahnama, ca. 1300-1600


2008 Shahrokh Razmjou

Faculty of Birkbeck College, University of London Ritual Practices at Persepolis


2007 Alyssa Gabbay

Faculty of the Division of Humanities, the University of chicago The Language of Tolerance: Amir Khusraw and the Development of Indo-Persian Culture


2006 Sarah Bowen Savant

Committee on the Study of Religion, Harvard University Finding Our Place in the Past:Geneology and Ethnicity in Islam


2005 Dagmar A. Riedel

Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Indiana University Searching for the Islamic Episteme: The Status of Historical Information in Medieval Middle-Eastern Anthological Writing


2004 Cyrus Schayegh

Graduate School of Arts and sciences, Columbia University Science, Medicine, and Class in the Formation of Semi-Colonial Iran in the 1900-1940s


2003 Deborah Gerber Tor

Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University From Holy Warriors to Chivalric Order: The Ayyars in the Eastern Islamic World, A.D. 800-1055


2002 Mohammad-Nader Nasiri-Moghaddam

Faculty of History, Sorbonne Nouvelle (Universite Paris III) Les missions archeologiques Francaises et la question des antiquites en Perse (1884-1914)


2001 Shafique Nizarali Virani

Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University Seekers of Union: The Ismailis from the Mongol Debacle to the Eve of the Safavid Revolution


2000 Christoph Werner

Otto-Friedrich University, Bamberg An Iranian town in transition: A Social and Economic History of the Elites of Tabriz, 1747-1848


1999 Negar Mottahedeh

University of Minnesota Representing the Unpresentable: Historical Images of Reform, from the Qajars to the Islamic Republic of Iran


1998 Shahzad Bashir

Yale University Between Mysticism and Messianism: The Life and Thought of Muhammad Nurbaksh


1997 Nader Sohrabi

Faculty of the Division of Social Sciences, University of Chicago Constitutionalism, Revolution and State: The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906 with Comparisons to the Russian Revolution of 1905


1996 David J.Roxburgh

University of Pennsylvania Our Works Point to US: Album Making, Collecting and Art (1427-1565) under The Timurids and Safavids


1995 Franklin D. Lewis

Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago Reading, Writing and Recitation: Sana’i and the Origins of the Persian Ghazal


1994 Layla S. Diba

New York University Laquerwork of Safavid Persia and its Relationship to Persian Painting


1992 Jamsheed K.Choksy

Harvard University Muslims and Zoroastrians in Medieval Iran and Western Inner Asia: Cultural Transition and Religious History


1991 Janet Afary

Middle Eastern Studies and History, University of Michigan Grassroots Democracy and Social Democracy in the Iranian Constitutional Revolution, 1906-1911


1990 Mehrzad Boroujerdi

Public Administration, American University Orientalism in Reverse: Iranian Intellectuals and the West, 1960-1990


1989 Jeannine Davis-Kimball

Near Eastern Studies, University of California Proportions in Achaemenid Art


1988 Abbas Alizadeh

Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago Mobile Pastoralism and the Development of Complex Societies in Highland Iran: The Evidence from Tell-i Bakun A


1987 Almuth Degener

Department of Oriental Studies, University of Hamburg Khotanische Suffixe


1986 Yeganeh Shaygan

Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, Avicenna on Time


1985 Anne H. Betteridge

Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago Ziarat: Pilgrimage to the Shrines of Shiraz


1984 Farah Gilanshah

Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota The Iranians of the Twin Cities




Honorable Mentions awarded to Ph.D. dissertations for high scholarship, originality, clarity, and significant contribution to Iranian Studies: 1999-2021


Sunil Sharma, "Poetics of Court and Prison in the Divan of Mas`ud-e Sa`d-e Salman," The University of Chicago
Maziar Lotfalian, "Technoscientific Identities: Muslims and the Culture of Curiosity," Rice University



Oya Pancaroglu, “‘A World Unto Himself': The Rise of a New Human Image in the Late Seljuk Period (1150-1250," Harvard University

MichaelAllan Rubin, "The Formation of Modern Iran, 1858-1909: Communications, Telegraph and Society," Yale University



Annabel Keeler, "Persian Sufism and Exegesis: Maybudi’s Commentary on the Qur’ân, The Kashf Al-Asrâr," Cambridge University


Colin P. Mitchell, "The Sword and the Pen: Diplomacy in Early Safavid Iran, 1501-1555,” University of Toronto


Roxanne Varzi, “Visionary Terrains of Post-Revolutionary War Iran: Youth Culture, Media and Public Space,” Columbia University

Afshin Marashi, “Nationalizing Iran: Culture, Power, and the State, 1870-1941,” University of California, Los Angeles


Matthew Canepa, “The Two Eyes of the Earth: Competition and Exchange in the Art and Ritual of Kingship between Rome and Sasanian Iran,” University of Chicago

Andrew Peacock, “Abu `Ali Bal`ami’s Translation of Al-Tabari’s History,” University of Cambridge



Talinn Grigor, “Cultivat(ing) Modernities: The Society for National Heritage, Political Propaganda, and Public Architecture in Twentieth Century Iran,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Naghmeh Sohrabi, “Signs Taken for Wonder: Nineteenth Century Persian Travel Literature to Europe,” Harvard University



No Honorable Mention Awarded




Ghazzal Dabiri, “The Origins and Development of Persian Epics,” University of California, Los Angeles

Victoria Gardner, “The Written Representations of a Central Asian Sufi Shaykh: Ahmad Ibn Mawlana Jalal al-Din Khwajagi Kasani ‘Makhdum A`zam,’” University of Michigan



Nasim Vahabi-Fatemi, “Les écrits des enfants de la guerre: des pays-bas à l’Iran, en passant par la Bosnie et l’Irlande,” University of Paris X-Nanterre

Thomas Welsford, “Loyalty, Welfare and Selfhood in Early Modern Central Asia: The Tûqây-Tîmûrid Takeover of Greater Mâ Warâ al-Nahr, 1598-1605,” University of Oxford



Roxane Farmanfarmaian, “Passionate Constructions: Democracy and Islam in Anglo-American Relations with Iran, 1979-1989,” University of Cambridge

Reza Pourjavady, “A Shi`i Theologian and Philosopher of Early Safavid Iran,” Free University Berlin



Mohammed Rustom, “Qur’anic Exegesis in Later Islamic Philosophy: Mulla Sadra’s Tafsir Surat al-Fatihah,” University of Toronto

Zahra Pamela Karimi, “Transitions in Domestic Architecture and Home Culture in Twentieth Century Iran,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Clement Therme, “Les relations entre Téhéran et Moscou depuis 1979: perspectives iraniennes,” University of Geneva and l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales

Orkideh Behrouzan, “Prozàk Diaries: Post-Rupture Subjectivities and Psychiatric Futures,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Alireza Mohammadi Doostdar, “Fantasies of Reason: Science, Superstition, and the Supernatural in Iran,” Harvard University

Matthew Melvin-Koushki, “The Quest for a Universal Science: The Occult Philosophy of Sa’in al-Din Turka Isfahani (1369-1432) and Intellectual Millenarianism in Early Timurid Iran,” Yale University


Justine Landau, "De rythme et de raison: lecture croisée de deux traités de poétique persane du XIIIe siècle," Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3

Manata Hashemi, “Social Mobility among Poor Youth in Iran,” University of California, Berkeley




Michael Shenkar “Anthropomorphic Iconography of Iranian Deities in the Pre-Islamic Iranian World,” Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Shawhin Roudbari “Transnational Transformation of Architecture Practice: Iranian Architects in the New Geography of Professional Authority, 1945-2012,” University of California, Berkeley


Seyyed Ahmad Hashemi “The Question of Freedom within the Horizon of the Iranian Constitutional Movement, 1906-1921,” University of Oxford
Keenan Baca-Winters “From Rome to Iran: Identity and Xusro II,” University of California, Irvine



Fatemeh Shams-Esmaeili "Official Voices of a Revolution: A Social History of Islamic Republic’s Poetry," Univertsity of Oxford

Jonathan Brack “Mediating Sacred Kingship: Conversion and Sovereignty in Mongol Iran,” University of Michigan

Cameron Lindley Cross “The Poetics of Romantic Love in Vis O Râmin,” University of Chicago



Austin O'Malley Poetry and Pedagogy: The Homiletic Verse of Farid al-Din `Attar,”  University of Chicago

Waleed Ziad “Traversing the Indus and the Oxus: Trans-Regional Islamic Revival in the Age of Political Fragmentation and the ‘Great Game’, 1747-1880” Yale University



Ahoo Najafian “Poetic Nation: Iranian Soul and Historical Continuity” Stanford University 

Robert Landau Ames “Looking for the Human: Sufism, Subjectivity, and Modernity in Iran” Harvard University

Shaftolu Gulamadov “The Hagiography of Nāṣir-i Khusraw and the Ismāʿīlīs of Badakhshān” University of Toronto



Narges Nematollahi “The Iranian Epistolary Tradition: Origins and Development (6th Century BCE to 7th Century CE)” Indiana University

Felisa Marie Hervey “Sharp-Edged Verse in 21st Century Afghanistan: an Analysis of Socio-Political Dimensions in Women’s Poetry” University of Arizona

Sheida Dayani “Juggling Revolutionaries: A Theatrical History of Indigenous Theatre and Early Playwriting in Iran" New York University



Zahra Nasiri Moghaddam Les pionniers de lenseignement du français à l’École Polytechnique (Dâr ol-Fonun) de Téhéran au XIXe siècl: Jules Richard, Mozayyen od-Dowle et Yusof Richard Université de Strasbourg



Thomas Blair Benfey "The Scholars of Sasanian Iran and Their Islamic Heirs" Princeton University

Tanvir Akhtar Ahmed "Radical Shadows of God; Islam and Sociopolitical Dissent, 1240-1600" Brown University