HIAA prize image
HIAA Prize

The Margaret B. Ševčenko Prize in Islamic Art and Culture

Brazier. 19th century. Iran. Freer Gallery of Art, F1907.158.

Every year HIAA sponsors a competition and awards the Margaret B. Ševčenko Prize for the best unpublished essay written by a junior scholar (pre-dissertation graduate student to three years after the Ph.D. degree) on any aspect of Islamic visual culture. This competition is open to HIAA members only. The Ševčenko Prize recipient receives an award of $500 and a citation, generally presented at HIAA’s annual business meeting. The Prize is named in memory of Margaret Bentley Ševčenko, the first and long-serving Managing Editor of Muqarnas, a journal devoted to the visual culture of the Islamic world and sponsored by the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and at MIT. The winning essay will be considered for publication by the Muqarnas Editorial Board.


How to apply

Submission must include the paper in both Word and PDF format, and a separate sheet with the author’s contact information (address, telephone number, and email address). Papers should not exceed 7000 words in length and can be accompanied by 15 low-res illustrations maximum.

A letter of recommendation for the paper should be sent separately by the author’s adviser or referee.

All materials should be submitted by email to the Ševčenko committee chair, Mercedes Volait, by November 15, 2018. Files exceeding 5 Mb should be transferred by FTP.


Prize history

  • 2017

    Awarded to

    Cailah Jackson

    The Illuminations of Mukhlis ibn ʿAbdullah al-Hindi: Identifying Manuscripts from Late Medieval Konya

    The selection committee chose this essay because of the important new light it sheds on the visual culture of post-Seljuk Anatolia, specifically with regard to the region’s little-known tradition of manuscript illumination. Focusing on the works of a particular artist and his circle, the author has produced a meticulous and clearly articulated study of the material. Her codicological examination of the manuscripts and visual analysis of the connections between them support her argument for the existence of a semantically resonant “Konya school” with possible links to Byzantine iconography. This conclusion may result in revisiting comparable works that have hitherto been labeled as “Mamluk” or “Ilkhanid.” The essay adds, moreover, to the growing and much-needed scholarship on individual artists from the Islamic world, especially those of the medieval period. Already an impressive contribution, this study could be developed into a more far-reaching published article, particularly if expanded to include references to similar decorations in other media such as metalwork. A broader context for the manuscripts would substantiate their significance and further elucidate the workings of the kind of “school” proposed by the author.

    Selected by
    • Mercedes Volait, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France
    • Ünver Rüstem, Johns Hopkins University
    • Nebahat Avcıoğlu, CUNY Hunter College
  • 2016

    Awarded to

    Abbey Stockstill

    A Tale of Two Mosques: Marrakesh’s Masjid al-jamiʿ al-Kutubiyya


    The committee would also like to award an honorable mention to Bahar Bilgin Uşar (MA student, Koç University) for her study “The Aksaray Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Mosque Complex: Reflections on the Patronage of a Nineteenth Century Valide Sultan."

  • 2015

    Awarded to

    Angela Andersen

    The Cemevi: The Form and Setting of Alevi Ceremonial Architecture

  • 2014

    Awarded to

    Sugata Ray

    Shangri La: The Archive-Museum and the Spatial Topologies of Islamic Art History

  • 2013

    Awarded to

    Anneka Lenssen

    A Politics of the Arabesque in Syria, 1936-1952

  • 2012

    Awarded to

    Diana Isaac Bakhoum

    The Foundation of a Tabrizi Workshop in Cairo: A Case Study of its Influence on the Mosque of Emir Altunbugha al-Maridani

  • 2011

    Awarded to

    Amanda Phillips

    A Material Culture: Ottoman Velvets and their Owners, 1600–­1750

  • 2010

    Awarded to

    Silvia Armando

    Ugo Monneret de Villard (1881­-1954) and the Establishment of Islamic Art Studies in Italy

  • 2009

    Awarded to

    Matt Saba

    Abbasid Lusterware and the Aesthetics of ‘ajab

  • 2008

    Awarded to

    Ünver Rüstem

    The Afterlife of a Royal Gift: The Ottoman Inserts of the Shahnama-yi Shahi

  • 2007

    Awarded to

    Elias Muhanna

    The Sultan's New Clothes: Ottoman-Mamluk Gift Exchange in the Fifteenth Century

  • 2006

    Awarded to

    Emine Fetvaci

    The Production of the Sehname-i Selim Han

  • 2005

    Awarded to

    Christiane Gruber

    The Ilkhanid Mi'rajnama of ca. 1317-35 [TSK H. 2154] as an illustrated Sunni prayer manual

  • 2004

    Awarded to

    Hussein Keshani

    Architecture and the Twelver Shi‘a Tradition: The Great Imāmbārā complex of Lucknow

  • 2003

    Awarded to

    Ayşin Yoltar-Yıldırım

    Turning the pages of an Ottoman illustrated manuscript