Letter from the President


2012 has been a year full of activity for the Syrian Studies Association.


The SSA has prepared a new constitution for discussion at our board meeting at MESA. We have made some big changes. We felt that the SSA needed to modernize the way it selects officers and carries out elections. To that end, we have democratized our process. From now on, the SSA will ask the membership to nominate and vote on all officers.


Voting has taken place for a new Secretary/Treasurer, Member-at-Large, and Prize Committee Chair, all of which will be announced at MESA.


For the Dissertation Prize, to be announced at MESA, we had a whopping nine entries. Steve Tamari, the head of the Prize Committee writes that the entries cover a host of issues from WW I to Palestinian refugees, to music, and Sayyida Zaynab. All are written by women, too! We have entries from Ireland, England (3), Sweden, USA (3), and Canada. The fields represented are sociology, political science, music, anthropology, and religious studies.


Here are the entries:

1.     Anaheed al-Hardan, Trinity College, Dublin, Sociology, 2011, Remembering the catastrophe: Uprooted Histories and the Grandchildren of the Nakba, 294pp. 

2.     Sophia Hoffman, SOAS, London, Political Science/Sociology, 2011, Disciplining movement: State sovereignty in the context of Iraqi migration to Syria, 287pp.

3.     Emma Jorum, Uppsala University, Sweden, Political Science, 2011, Beyond the Border, Syrian Policies towards Territories Lost, 264pp. 

4.     Shayna Silverstein, University of Chicago, Music, 2012, Mobilizing Bodies in Syria: Dabke, Popular Culture, and the Politics of Belonging, 402pp. 

5.     Melanie, Tanielian,, University of California, Berkeley, History, 2012, The War of Famine: Everyday Life in Wartime Beirut and Mount Lebanon (1914-1918) , 236pp. 

6.     Amanda Terc, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Anthropology, 2011,  Syria's New Neoliberal Elite: English Usage, Linguistic Practices and Group Boundaries, 300pp.

7.     Nadia von Maltzahn, St. Anthony's College, Oxford, Oriental Studies, Political Science, 2010, "Bridging the Cultural Divide: rian-Iranian Cultural Diplomacy since 1979", 346pp.

8.     Maria Kastinou, Intimate bodies, violent struggles: the poetics and politics of nuptiality in Syria. Durham University, 2012.

9.     Edith Szanto, Following Sayyida ZaynabTwelver Shiism in Contemporary Syria, University of Toronto, Religious Studies, 2012. 


Fred Lawson and Heghnar Watenpaugh have organized a terrific panel that will follow the SSA business meeting on Saturday, November 17, 2012. Titled Perspectives on the Syrian Uprisings, it will include: Rebecca Joubin, Seda Altug, Max Weiss, Keith Watenpaugh, and Ben Smuin.


Andrea Stanton, Bulletin Editor and Beverly Tsacoyianis, Book Review Editor, have put together another excellent issue of the SSA bulletin.


Joshua Landis

November 2012