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Every year HIAA sponsors a competition and awards the Margaret B. Ševčenko Prize for the best unpublished essay written by a junior scholar (pre-dissertation graduate student to three years after the Ph.D. degree) on any aspect of Islamic visual culture.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, 2019. Files exceeding 5 Mb should be transferred by FTP.


Prize history

  • 2018

    Awarded to

    Emily Neumeier

    Assistant Professor, Temple University, Tyler School of Art

    The Church that the Pasha Built: Towards a Multi-Confessional History of Islamic Architecture

    The paper addresses the issue of architectural patronage in the late Ottoman empire, by focusing on one (seemingly unusual) case: a provincial Christian monastic complex built in 1814 to celebrate a martyr, on the order of an Ottoman vizir (Ali Pasha from Tepelena, in present-day Albania). Clearly written and articulated, the paper weaves together archival, epigraphical and archaeological evidence to write a micro-history of the building, and raises ultimately the issue of multi-confessionality in Islamic architecture, a category still poorly researched and understood in the field. Including more material on Ali Pasha, a major historical figure of his time who became moreover a literary character, could turn the paper into a fascinating essay on religious patronage. The essay has thus the potential to open new ground for the study of late Ottoman architecture, a period still understudied.

    Selected by
    • Nebahat Avcıoğlu, CUNY Hunter College
    • Moya Carey, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin
    • Mercedes Volait, Committee chair, Centre national de la recherche scientifique
  • 2017

    Awarded to

    Cailah Jackson

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

  • 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