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Dissertation Prizes

Every two years, TAARII awards the best U.S. doctoral dissertations on Iraq. The Donny George Youkhana Dissertation Prize (named in 2011) recognizes the best dissertation on ancient Iraq. A second award recognizes the best dissertation on modern or medieval Iraq. The competition is open to U.S. citizens at any university worldwide and any student at a U.S. university.

TAARII announces its bi-annual dissertation award competition for dissertations defended during the 2013–2014 and 2014–2015 academic years. Dissertations defended during the 2013–2014 and 2014-2015 academic years are eligible and may come from any discipline for the study of any time period. The competition is open to U.S. citizens at any university worldwide and any student at a U.S. university. One award of $1,500 will be made for The Donny George Youkhana Dissertation Prize for the best dissertation on ancient Iraq. Another award of $1,500 will be made for the best dissertation on medieval or modern Iraq.

Nominations and submissions should come directly from the dissertation advisors. Advisors should submit a PDF copy of the dissertation manuscript and a letter explaining the importance of the dissertation. Please send all nominations/submissions, along with contact information for dissertation authors, by July 1, 2015, to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Only electronic submissions will be accepted. Queries may be addressed to the TAARII Executive Director at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

For more information on these projects, click on the appropriate year on the menu to the left in order to read the dissertation abstracts.

Recipients

2015

The Donny George Youkhana Dissertation Prize (Ancient): Dr. Kiersten Ashley Neumann (University of California, Berkeley), "Resurrected and Reevaluated: The Neo-Assyrian Temple as a Ritualized and Ritualizing Built Environment"

Modern/Medieval: Dr. Hilary Falb Kalisman (University of California, Berkeley), "Schooling the State: Educators in Iraq, Palestine and Transjordan, c. 1890-c. 1960"

2013

The Donny George Youkhana Dissertation Prize (Ancient): Co-Recipients: Dr. Kim Benzel (Columbia University), “Puabi's Adornment for the Afterlife: Materials and Technologies of Jewelry at Ur in Mesopotamia," & Dr. Katharyn Hanson (University of Chicago), "Considerations of Cultural Heritage: Threats to Mesopotamian Archaeological Sites"

Modern/Medieval: Dr. Arbella Bet-Shlimon (Harvard University), “Kirkuk, 1918-1968: Oil and the Politics of Identity in an Iraqi City"

2011

The Donny George Youkhana Dissertation Prize (Ancient): Dr. Karen Sonik (University of Pennsylvania), "Demon-Haunted Universe: Conception of the Supernatural in Mesopotamia"

Modern/Medieval: None awarded

2009

Ancient: Dr. Jonathan Tenney (University of Chicago), “Life at the Bottom of Babylonian Society: Servile Laborers at Nippur in the late 14th and 13th Centuries BC"

Modern: Dr. Juan Romero (University of Texas at Austin), “The Iraqi Revolution of 1958 and the Search for Security in the Middle East”

2005–2006

Ancient: Dr. Michael Kozuh (University of Chicago), “The Sacrificial Economy: On the Management of Sacrificial Sheep and Goats at the Neo-Babylonian/Achaemenid Eanna Temple of Uruk (c. 625–550 BC)”