Tuesday, 2 July 2013

British Society for Middle Eastern Studies awards Rebecca Steinfeld an Honourable Mention in the 2013 Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize for Best PhD Dissertation on a Middle Eastern Topic

The award was for Rebecca's dissertation, War of the Wombs: The History and Politics of Fertility Policies in Israel, 1948-2010, which she submitted to the University of Oxford for her DPhil in Politics. 

The independent judges said, "This is an original dissertation that is ambitious in its scope…but it also deals with an important topic that has been remarkably little studied in this particular context…It explores a number of facets of this question that help to illuminate some of the key processes at work in Israeli politics and society, demonstrating both a detailed knowledge of these processes, as well as a sound understanding of the larger questions they raise in terms of theorising about gender politics and reproduction."

The Fund and the Prize were established in memory of Leigh Douglas, as a memorial to his life and work, after his abduction and murder in Beirut in April 1986. Leigh had lived in the Yemen Arab Republic, where he was Director of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies, and had taught for a number of years at the American University of Beirut. He had made the study of the politics of the Yemen the main focus of his academic interests, completing a PhD thesis at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) on the "Free Yemeni Movement" in 1983, published in 1987 by the American University of Beirut Press, but was also working, at the time of his death, on aspects of Lebanese politics.

BRISMES hopes that, through the Fund and the Prize, they are encouraging the study of the cultures and societies of a part of the world which Leigh loved and in that sense are helping to continue his work.