SOAS University of London

SOAS students recognised by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize 2021

19 July 2021

We are delighted to announce that two of the top four PhD dissertations recognised by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize 2021 were from SOAS students.

Mattin Biglari shares the joint winner prize with Hannah Elsisi Ashmawi (Oxford University) for his dissertation, Refining Knowledge: Expertise, Labour and Everyday Life in the Iranian Oil Industry, c.1933-51. 

Mattin said: "I am delighted and truly honoured to be named a joint winner of this award. It means a lot to have such close engagement with my work and recognition from colleagues in Middle East studies, and to be considered alongside such brilliant scholars. There are many people I have to thank for the help and support they provided over the course of the PhD, including wonderful friends and colleagues at SOAS who inspired and taught me so much. In addition, this thesis would not have been possible without a generous SOAS research scholarship. Finally, I am extremely grateful for the academic advice and support provided by my two supervisors, Nelida Fuccaro and John Parker, who are no longer at SOAS but contributed immeasurably to its academic life over several years."

Haya Al-Noaimi received an Honourable mention for her dissertation, The ‘Protectors of our Nation’: constructing masculinities between protection and in/security in Qatar and the UAE. 

Haya said: “I’m happy to have received this honorable mention by BRISMES and a big thanks to the independent judges who reviewed this dissertation. It’s been a long journey to get to where I am today but then again, don’t all PhDs feel this way?! I’m grateful to my wonderful supervisor Laleh Khalili and to the amazing colleagues, classmates and friends I met at SOAS, who truly understand the meanings of solidarity and reciprocity. The wealth of knowledge and insight that I picked up on in my daily life at SOAS, both inside and outside the classroom, was priceless and life-changing. A completed dissertation was an added bonus.”

Lutz Marten, Head of the Doctoral School said: 

“I am delighted to hear this excellent news! SOAS has had a keen interest in the study of the Near and Middle East for over a century and it is wonderful to see this tradition being strengthened and amplified through such outstanding work of the next generation of scholars. I wish to extend my warmest congratulations to the proud awardees, Dr. Al-Noaimi and Dr Biglari.”

Find out more about the winning dissertations on the BRISMES website.