MESA - Middle East Studies Association

Houshang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award

The Houshang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award was established in 2005 to recognize outstanding publishing in Iranian studies. The award was named for Houshang Pourshariati to recognize his long and distinguished career as a journalist and writer.

2016 Nomination Guidelines

This award has changed to a bienniel award.

(print version)

Deadline April 1, 2016

The Middle East Studies Association invites nominations for the 2016 Houshang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award. Nominations can be made by either the publisher or the author. Although there is no limit to the number of titles that authors or publishers may submit, we ask that they exercise discretion in the selection of books nominated. Below is a list of criteria that should be met:

  1. Nominations for the Houshang Pourshariati Iranian Studies Book Award can be made by either the publisher or the author.
  2. Books must be non-fiction scholarly monographs based on original research published in English* between April 1, 2014, and March 31, 2016. Authors need not be members of MESA. *Works translated from other languages into English will also be considered, but will be judged by the same rigorous standards as those for works originally in English.
  3. Subject matter must deal with Iran and the work must seek to advance knowledge and scholarship on Iranian society, culture, and history from ancient times to the present and as addressed by the fields of literature, philosophy, social studies, art, science, and other disciplines. The purview of these works should be clearly that of an Iranist. The works considered should demonstrate substantive understanding of the social and political experiences of the Iranian people and their civilization and their contribution to and influences on the world at large.
  4. Works not eligible include edited collections and compilations, proceedings of symposia, new editions of previously published books, bibliographies, dictionaries, and textbooks.

The author of the winning book will receive $2000 and a certificate of award. Honorable mentions also receive a certificate of award. Winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony at the 50th MESA Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts held November 17-20. As well, the results will be posted on MESA’s website and in Issues in Middle East Studies, the Association’s newsletter.

2014 Award Recipients

The Monetary History of Iran: From the Safavids to the Qajars


Rudi Matthee, John and Dorothy Munroe Distinguished Professor of History, University of Delaware

Willem Floor, Independent Scholar, Washington, DC


Patrick Clawson, Director of Research
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Published by I.B. Tauris, 2013

Pictured above: Afshin Marashi (Committee Chair), Rudi Matthee, Patrick Clawson, Virgnina Aksan (Awards Ceremony MC), Rivanne Sandler (Committee Member).


To Nominate a Book

Send a letter of nomination by April 1 to the Awards Coordinator at the MESA Secretariat and send a copy of the book to the Awards Coordinator and each of the members of the committee by April 11, 2016. For each book nominated, please include the full title, author’s full name, publisher, and publication date.

Sara L. Palmer, Book Awards Coordinator
2016 Houshang Pourshariati Iranians Studies Book Award Competition
Middle East Studies Association
3542 N. Geronimo Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85705
520-333-2577 ext. 103
520-207-3166 (fax)

Dr. Camron M. Amin
Dept of Social Sciences - History
University of Michigan at Dearborn
1270 SSB
Dearborn MI 48128-1491
[for the carrier’s airbill, phone # 313-436-9171]

Dr. Kevan Harris
264 Haines Hall
Department of Sociology
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles CA 90095
[for the carrier’s airbill, phone # 310-825-1313]

Dr. Jocelyn Sharlet
Comparative Literature Department
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis CA 95616
[for the carrier’s airbill, phone # 530-752-1219]

Previous Recipients

2013 Award Recipient

Patricia Crone, Andrew W. Mellon Professor, School of Historical Studies, Princeton
Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran: Rural Revolt and Local Zoroastrianism
(Cambridge University Press, 2012)

2012 Award Recipient

Hamid Naficy, Professor of Radio-Television-Film and Al-Thani Professor in Communication, Northwestern University, A Social History of Iranian Cinema (Duke University Press, 2011)

2011 Award Recipient

Sebouh Aslanian, University of California, Los Angeles, From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa (University of California Press, 2011)

2010 Award Recipient

Arash Khazeni, Pomona College, Tribes and Empire on the Margins of Nineteenth-Century Iran (University of Washington Press, 2010)

Honorable Mentions

Richard W. Bulliet, Columbia University, Cotton, Climate, and Camels in Early Islamic Iran (Columbia University Press, 2009)

Colin P. Mitchell, Dalhousie University, The Practice of Politics in Safavid Iran: Power, Religion and Rhetoric (I.B. Tauris Publishers, 2009)

2009 Award Recipient

Sussan Babaie, Fulbright Regional Scholar, Egypt and Syria, Isfahan and Its Palaces: Statecraft, Shi'ism and the Architecture of Conviviality in Early Modern Iran (Edinburgh University Press)

2008 Award Recipients

Maria E. Subtelny, University of Toronto, Timurids in Transition: Turko-Persian Politics and Acculturation in Medieval Iran (Brill Publishers)

Honorable Mention

Shafique N. Virani, University of Toronto, The Ismailis in the Middle Ages: A History of Survival, A Search for Salvation (Oxford University Press)

2007 Award Recipients

Beatrice F. Manz, Tufts University, Power, Politics and Religion in Timurid Iran (Cambridge University Press)

Honorable Mention

Vanessa Martin, University of London, The Qajar Pact: Bargaining, Protest and the State in 19th Century Persia (I.B. Tauris)

Biographical Sketch of Houshang Pourshariati (1934–2004)

Houshang Pourshariati (1934–2004) was a journalist, public intellectual and humanist who devoted his life to the advancement and welfare of his country in the course of his distinguished career in the Iranian Press and Media. Pourshariati commenced his career as a journalist when the Iranian Press was entering its professional phase in the middle of the 20th century. He was amongst a select group of highly dedicated, erudite and intellectually committed individuals who, through their untiring contributions, –at times against severe odds and with little means– laid the foundations of modern, professional journalism in Iran. With his education, keen intelligence, and tremendous organizational skills he soon rose to prominence and played a leading part in two of the most important dailies of his time, Ettela’at and Ayendegan, in the latter one of which he functioned as a founding member. A natural communicator, with a great gift for friendship and camaraderie, he played a crucial part as a founding member of the first free union, the “Writers’ and Journalists’ Syndicate” of Iran in the early 1960s.

The establishment of the “Writers’ and Journalists’ Syndicate” in this turbulent period of Iranian history was a milestone in the history of the Iranian Press and provided the ideological and institutional means for the subsequent crucial role that the Iranian press performed in the revolution of 1978-79. Pourshariati eventually became the Director of Pars News Agency, the Iranian national news agency, a position he held during the revolutionary upheavals. As one of the renowned journalists of his time and in the course of his career of about half a century he witnessed, firsthand, some of the most crucial episodes of Iranian history unfold. Houshang Pourshariati’s career, and his profound interest in Iran’s cultural progress also brought him into intimate contact with some of the most renowned Iranian academics and literati of the past half century. It is in commemoration of what he stood for as a humanist and universalist with a particular affection for his own cultural legacies, and a public intellectual of great integrity who devoted his life to Iran’s cultural progress, that this award in Iranian Studies is set up in his memory. It is hoped that the Houshang Pourshariati Book Award in Iranian Studies will contribute to the advancement of the field and further promote cross-cultural understanding.

 Start of Page