Winner of 2023 BRISMES Conference Student Paper Prize Announced

We are delighted to announce that Mohamed Mohamed has been selected as the winner of the 2023 BRISMES Conference Student Paper Prize. This prize was established in 2021 to support BRISMES student members in the development of peer-reviewed work. The winner receives £300 and is mentored through a review process at the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (BJMES) by a senior member of the BRISMES academic community. 

Congratulations to Mohamed and sincere thanks to our incredible prize committee and to everyone who submitted their paper for consideration!

Selling God: Al-Azhar, UAE and transubstantiation of religious capital

The paper offers an original intervention on the circuits of religious capital and their relationship to systems/interlocutors of power. By examining al-Azhar – Egypt’s official religious establishment – as a site of global politics, it shifts our view from national to transnational terrain. Its rich empirical investigation of the UAE’s material, financial and political engagements with al-Azhar opens space for rethinking the entanglements between religious institutions, foreign policy goals, political leadership and financial circuits. We had several excellent submissions to this year’s paper prize, but Mohamed Mohamed’s paper stood out as conceptually innovative and empirically rigorous. We were amazed at the precision and depth of the paper and expect it to offer an important contribution to Middle East Studies, as it literally changes the way we think about domestic religious establishments and their global partners and influence.

Winner of 2023 BRISMES Conference Student Paper Prize Announced

Mohamed Mohamed is a PhD candidate at the George Mason University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology. His work draws from the sociology of religion, political sociology, and theories of globalization to examine how and under what circumstances might domestic religious actors influence global politics. His research seeks to examine the various ways in which al-Azhar, a thousand-year-old prestigious Sunni religious edifice and the epitome of institutionalized Islam in Egypt, has been interacting with transnational politics over the last two decades. Prior to embarking on his PhD journey, Mohamed earned two master’s degrees: one in Islamic Studies from the George Washington University, where he was a Fulbright scholar, and another in Middle Eastern Studies from King’s College London, where he was a Chevening scholar. Mohamed is currently working as a lecturer in sociology at the George Washington University.