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SOAS PhD graduate awarded 2013 BRISMES Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize for thesis

28 June 2013

SOAS PhD graduate Jörg Matthias Determann has been awarded the 2013 British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize for his thesis.

BRISMES, set up in 1973, promoted and encourage the study of the Middle East in the United Kingdom and world class research across a wide range of disciplines.

The prize itself was established in the name of a former SOAS PhD student, Leigh Douglas, as a fitting 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.

Matthias, a 2012 History graduate, was selected as one of the two joint winners in 2013 for the best PhD dissertation on a Middle Eastern topic.

His work on Globalization, the State, and Narrative Plurality: Historiography in Saudi Arabia was described by the independent judges as “work of extraordinary value and scholarly integrity”.

The judges added: “It engages effectively with larger questions of historiography in order to bring to light aspects of Saudi history that are often overlooked by those who do not have access to these remarkable resources.

“This is a truly impressive work that could serve as a model of its kind and stands as a testimony to the meticulous scholarship of the author.”

Matthias commented: “I am extremely happy and feel deeply honoured by this prize. I am immensely grateful to BRISMES, the Leigh Douglas Memorial Fund, the independent judges and Charles Tripp. At the same time I am also very thankful to the many people and organisations that have supported me over the years.

“My four years of studying for the PhD at SOAS have been an incredibly stimulating experience and one of the best times of my life. The excellent supervision by Konrad Hirschler, the unique resources of SOAS and London, and the inspiration from SOAS’ diverse community of fellow students and researchers have made this award possible.”

Matthias was supervised by Dr Konrad Hirschler and examined by Professor Ulrike Freitag and Dr James McDougall. He will share a prize fund of £600.

Phd graduate pic

Matthias interviews Saudi tribal historian Fayez al-Harbi at the scholars home in Riyadh