Past & Present Article Wins Syrian Studies Association Prize

by the Past & Present editorial team

Dr. Benjamin Thomas White has won the 2017 Syrian Studies Association “Prize for the Most Outstanding Article or Book Chapter” for “Refugees and the Definition of Syria, 1920-1939” which appeared in Past & Present No. 235 (May 2017). Deeming the piece “remarkable”, the prize committee summarised the article’s contribution to scholarship in the most glowing terms:

“Examining the influx of refugees into the Syrian Mandate during the interwar period, Benjamin Thomas White convincingly argues that modern state formation in Syria was largely shaped by its response to the presence of these refugees and the attendant controversies over their place in the nascent Syria.  Combining Arabic newspapers with French colonial archival documents, White demonstrates that the flow of refugees brought state authority into many rural areas for the first time, while intensifying it in the cities.  Refugee flows also brought geographical borders into sharper definition and profoundly influenced the crafting of nationality laws.  White’s innovative and informative article sheds light on the complex interactions among various Syrian and foreign actors in shaping a national and territorial Syria.  This article greatly contributes not only to our knowledge of Syrian history but also to the present crisis in Syria and its repercussions in Europe and the Mediterranean.”

In addition to the prize itself White has been invited, as is the Syrian Studies Association’s custom, to join their prize committee for the next two years, meaning that he will play a key role in choosing the 2018 and 2019 prize winners. Honours that comes hot on the heels of last week’s announcement that “Refugees and the Definition of Syria, 1920-1939” had won the Khayrallah Prize in Migration Studies.

In further recognition of these achievements, “Refugees and the Definition of Syria, 1920-1939” will be free to read online through our publishers Oxford University Press until the 14th December 2017.  

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