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Competitions

On the suggestion of the then newly formed BRISMES Graduate section, we launched two competitions in 2006 for undergraduate and graduate students in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

1. The Graduate Article Competition in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies 

The Graduate Article Prize will be awarded to the best article in the area of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies submitted by a postgraduate student at a UK university. The winner will receive a prize of £500 and, subject to the normal peer-review process, will be published in the prestigious journal, the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. He/she will also be invited to a presentation ceremony and also invited to present the article as a paper at the next the BRISMES conference. The judges also have the option to award a second prize of £100. The closing date for entries is 31st March 2015.  

2.  The Undergraduate Essay Prize

The Undergraduate Essay Prize will be awarded to the best essay in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies submitted as a part of the assessment for an undergraduate degree at a UK university. The winner will receive a prize of £100, and his/her essay will be distributed to all BRISMES members. The closing date for entries is 30th November 2015.

Specifications for each of the prizes are available below.

The Graduate Article Competition in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies 2014

Submissions are invited from postgraduate students at any stage of their study. Both students at both Doctoral and Masters level can make submissions. Students within ONE CALENDER YEAR of receiving their postgraduate degree are also allowed to submit. Entrants must be registered, or have been registered, at a UK Higher Education Institution for a programme of postgraduate study.

The submission should be between 8000 and 10000 words, and fall into the usual subject domain of BRISMES - that is, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies broadly conceived. If a potential submitter is unsure as to whether their subject falls within the remit of the prize, they should contact the administrative office  (address below).
Submissions must follow the conventions for citation and transliteration used in the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies.  For author guidelines, please click HERE. Adherence to these conventions forms an element in the judges' assessment, and consequently the award of the prize.

Submissions must be in English, and the standard of the English and general presentation also forms an element of the judges' assessment.
Submissions will be blind peer reviewed and follow the established peer-review procedures for the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. A judging panel of BRISMES council members will then make the award of the prize. The judging panel's decision is final. The prize is £500.  Subject to the usual peer-review process, the article will be published in the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. The judges also have the option to award a second prize of a cheque for £100.

The closing date for the electronic element of submissions is 31st July 2014. Late submissions will not be included in the competition. Submissions are encouraged in advance of this date.

Entries should be submitted, with a covering email of introduction giving the student's e-mail contact details for the period April to July 2015, student career to date, programme on which the student is (or has been) enrolled, and supervisor's name (if applicable). The covering message does not form part of the judge's assessment. The judge's assessment will be made on the basis of the article submitted alone.

Submissions must be made electronically (by e-mailing a WORD attachment to the Administative Office at the e-mail address below). 

Any queries regarding the competition should be addressed to the Administrative Office:

BRISMES Administrative Office

Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
Durham University
Durham
DH1 3TU

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Previous Winners

The first BRISMES Graduate Article Competition was won by Ms Hilary Kalmbach for her article "Social and Religious Change in Damascus: One Case of Female Islamic Religious Authority". The judges described the article as containing "original insights into female study circles in Damascene mosques". Kalmbach, they report, "intriguingly suggests an unconscious subversion of the moral system by female submissiveness, an idea of an enormous intellectual interest." Ms Kalmbach was awarded the prize by Sheikh Abdullah Mubarak on 5th July 2007 at Wolfson College Oxford, and the article was published with minor revisions, in the first 2008 issue of BJMES.

The second winner, in 2008 was Margaret Graves (University of Edinburgh) Margaret's papers was on
'Visual Culture as Historical Document: Sir John Drummon Hay and the Nineteenth Century Moroccan Pottery in the National Museum of Scotland' and she was presented with the Award by HE Mr Khaled Al-Duwaisan, Kuwaiti Ambassador, during the 2008 Annual Conference.

The winner in 2009 was Ahmad Khan for his article entitled:

‘Ibn Qutayba and the Proto-Sunni Traditionalist Movement in the 9th century’

 

This thesis was originally submitted on 12.02.09 to University of Edinburgh, Graduate School of Literatures, Languages, and Cultures

The assessors evaluated it as: 'Highly analytical and scholarly; very neatly structured; lots of Arabic primary sources; good knowledge, too, of the secondary literature; overall, impressive!'

Ahmad is now studying for an M.Phil in Medieval Islamic History (1st Year), Pembroke College, University of Oxford (Oriental Studies) (Supervisor Dr Christopher Melchert.)

The competition was suspended in 2009 and has been re-launched for 2014.

The Undergraduate Essay Prize
(Academic Year 2013-14)

Submissions of excellent undergraduate essays and dissertations are invited from tutors of undergraduate students at any stage of their study, providing they are studying for an undergraduate degree qualification at a UK Higher Education Institution.

Submissions must be in UK English. Essays and dissertations should not exceed 8000 words. The length of the piece, however, does not form part of the judges' assessment. Assessment will be made on the submission's quality alone, taking into account the point in the degree programme when the essay was submitted. The competition is not, therefore, limited to final year undergraduate students. The standard of the English and general presentation also forms an element of the judges' assessment. There is no requirement for the students to adhere to specific citation and transliteration conventions beyond those demanded by the module for which the essay was submitted.
The essay may be a formative or summative element of the module assessment. That is, it need not contribute to the final assessment mark of the module.
Submissions should not be made by the student themselves, but by the tutor of the undergraduate module (or equivalent). The tutor must obtain the student's consent before making a submission and include a consent note from the student (a copy of an e-mail will suffice).
Tutors are limited to ONE submission each academic year - tutors should therefore select what he/she considers to be the best undergraduate essay or dissertation he/she has received in the academic year 2013-2014, bearing in mind the level of study of the various pieces he/she has marked that year. Please note that we request electtonic submissions.  
The closing date is 1200 midnight, 30th November 2014, although submissions are encouraged in advance of this date.

The prize will be awarded by a panel of judges drawn from the BRISMES Council. The judges' decision is final. The prize consists of a cheque for £100 and the distribution of the winning submission to all BRISMES members as an example of undergraduate excellence in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies.

The winning essay or dissertation may need to be edited.

Submissions should consist of:

  1. a copy of the essay
  2. the marksheet or feedback form for the essay
  3. a brief covering note from the tutor detailing the character of the module for which the essay was submitted and the degree programme for which the student is enrolled
  4. a note of consent for the submission from the student him/herself.

The essay element of the submissions MUST be made electronically (by the tutor in the form of an e-mail with a WORD attachment sent to the Administrative Office at the address below). As many as possible of the other elements of the submission (marksheet, covering note and consent note) should also be submitted electronically. The electronic element of the submission must be submitted by the closing date (1200 midnight on 30th November 2014). Submissions will receive an e-mail acknowledgement.

The winning essay will be announced by the end of 2014, and the student's tutor will be notified. The tutor should ensure that for non-returning students, they have their contact details.

Any queries regarding the competition should be addressed to the Administrative Office at the dress below:

Previous Winners

James Kaye from Durham University was the winner of the undergraduate essay competition in its first year. James' essay was entitled: How successful were the Ottomans in resisting the Safavid challenge to their authority in Anatolia during the sixteenth century?

James was presented with his cheque during the 2007 Annual Lecture.

The winner in 2008 was Andrew Wilcox of Exeter University. Andrew's essay was on: The Dual Mystical Concepts of Fana' and Baqa' in Early Sufism. Andrew was presented with the award during the 2008 Annual Lecture.

The winner of the 2009 competition was Nadia El-Anis of Leeds University for her essay entitled 'Muslim Women and the Veil with Special Reference to the West'.

Reviewers’ comments:

 

'This is a fine piece of work on veiling in general and with particular reference to women in Leeds; the subject is treated both thoroughly and perceptively. Very well-referenced; use of quantatative method (questionnaires) with valuable field-work; good appendices and bibliography'.

 

The prize was suspended in 2009 and has been re-launched for 2014.