CMES is proud to announce that Zeena Haitham Hamed, a 4th year Sociology major, has been awarded the 2024 Nancy Gallagher Prize for best undergraduate essay in Middle East Studies. They wrote an essay on white spatial imaginary and a comparative analysis of systems of capitalist control in Chicago and Iraq through the prism of rap music. The faculty review committee appreciated Zeena’s thoughtful analysis, engagement with theoretical and secondary sources, and lucid writing. The prize is named in honor of UCSB Professor Emerita Nancy Gallagher, a historian of the Middle East and North Africa, who helped build the thriving intellectual community that is CMES.

CMES is proud to announce that the inaugural Nancy Gallagher Prize for best undergraduate essay in the field of Middle East Studies is Leila Katibah for her essay, “The Politics of Pegasus: Examining Israel’s Threat to World Press Freedom.” The Nancy Gallagher Prize for best undergraduate essay in the field of Middle East Studies was created to encourage and support undergraduate students’ research in the field. The prize was named in honor of Professor Nancy Gallagher and her contributions to Middle East Studies at UCSB and beyond.

CMES would like to congratulate Dwight Reynolds on receiving the UCSB Faculty Senate Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award. This award recognizes sustained and exemplary contributions of faculty to mentoring graduate students, both during their time at UCSB as well as in their subsequent careers. Recipients are selected by a committee composed of representatives from the Graduate Council and Council on Faculty Welfare, Academic Freedom, and Awards, as well as past recipients of the Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award. Throughout his illustrious career, Dwight has been a dedicated and inspiring teacher, mentoring graduate students at UCSB and many other institutions across the US and beyond. 

Samira Fathi has successfully defended her doctoral dissertation on the urban and architectural developments of the city of Isfahan, Iran in the Qajar era in the UCSB Department of History of Art and Architecture.  Prof. Nuha Khoury, who chaired her committee, said the dissertation “will no doubt become a touchstone for future scholarship.” Join us in congratulating Dr. Fathi.

Prof. Dwight Reynolds (Religious Studies) has won two major awards for his book, The Musical Heritage of Al-Andalus (Routledge, 2020), a well earned recognition of a major contribution to the fields of Middle East Studies, Spanish history, and ethnomusicology. The American Historian Association awarded Reynolds the Premio del Rey for a distinguished book in English in the field of early Spanish history, and the American Musicological Society awarded Reynolds the Early Music Award.

Farshad Sonboldel, the Middle East Studies Librarian and Area Studies Collection Strategist at UCSB, has been awarded the Nyholm Prize. The prize is awarded to “a librarian, [who] in the judgment of the University Librarian, aided by consultants he [sic] may elect, has made during the past year an outstanding contribution to librarianship, be it excellence of performance, catalyzing influence, or some other act of distinction.”

We congratulate UCSB’s CMES affiliated PhD student Alex Schultz (History of Art & Architecture Dept) for successfully completing and presenting her dissertation “Living and Dying in Water: Fluid Infrastructure Disruptions in Urban Egypt (1870-1935).” Her (very impressed) committee members are Nuha Khoury, Swati Chattopadhyay, Paul Amar, and Michael Provence (UCSD).

CMES Director Sherene Seikaly (History) has received a prestigious fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She will be working on her book From Baltimore to Beirut: On the Question of Palestine that charts the trajectory of her great-grandfather Naim Cotran (c.1877-1961) from nineteenth century mobility across Baltimore and Sudan to twentieth century immobility in Lebanon. Cotran was a Palestinian man who was at once a colonial officer and a colonized subject, a slave-holder and a refugee, whose homeland was dismembered. The book places the question of Palestine in a global history of race, capital, slavery, and dispossession. 

Laila Shereen Sakr (Film and Media Studies) will exhibit Capital Glitch: Arab Cyborg Turns to D.C., an interactive art installation, from November 5 through December 3 at the Gallery QI at UCSD. An exhibition in three-acts, Capital Glitch, reflects on the events leading up to and taking place during the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol through cultural analytics of social media. It consists of a 30-foot wall of interactive mosaics, glitch metal prints, and holograms in a mixed reality immersive experience. The exhibit will premiere in-person on 11/5 at 5 pm PST, featuring an artist presentation and panel discussion. A livestream will accompany the event. Find more information here.