Jere L. Bacharach Service Award
Dale F. Eickelman
Dale Eickelman is honored and recognized for his exceptional service to the field of Middle East Studies. Over 18 years at NYU, 27 at Dartmouth College, and continuing past his retirement in 2016, he has worked to build the intellectual infrastructure of interdisciplinary Middle East Studies: He co-founded and served for six years on a joint committee of the ACLS/SSRC for comparative study of Muslim societies in the 1980s. He also served as external reviewer for Middle East Studies centers and on anthropology and other program panels for NEH, Fulbright, and SSRC. He organized and secured grant funding for conferences and workshops that brought the work of Middle East scholars in countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, on (NEH), path-breaking conferences and workshops on print Islam and the public sphere (Rockefeller), on liberal arts in the Arabian peninsula (Rockefeller) and university development in Gulf countries (American U of Kuwait), Summer Seminars for College Teachers (NEH) and graduate students (SSRC), and a multi-year German-American Young Scholars Program of workshops (funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation) for two dozen near and new doctorates from European and Turkish universities. He also contributed to a multi-year project for modernizing Islamic and Middle East studies in Japan that brought a significant number of new scholars into the field. He organized non-credit seminars for graduate students in Morocco, where his own research began, as well as meetings of Turkish, Middle Eastern and European doctoral students in social sciences and history of Muslim societies, as well as two Gulf Research Center meetings at Cambridge featuring equal participation by Gulf state nationals, both of which resulted in publications. Many also benefited from how he turned otherwise routine editorial tasks on journals and for university presses into opportunities that forwarded the careers of scholars in Islamic and Middle East Studies.
In the past 15 years, he has served an entire new university in his role as principal advisor for the creation and staffing of the American University of Kuwait, the first in the Middle East since Cairo and Beirut to explicitly embrace a liberal arts model.
In sum, he has brought people from all over the world into conversation with one another and into professional Middle East studies, advancing new people and new topics together, graduate students, post-doctoral students, colleagues, and institutions in the U.S. and many other countries. Eickelman succeeded in getting brilliant new scholars and exciting new scholarship into circulation that otherwise would have remained at geographic and academic margins. His is a history of full-spectrum, multi-modal service to others and to his profession that is extremely rare, appreciated by many, and deserving of recognition by the profession to which he has given so much of himself.