May 2017

Congratulations are in order for Michael Low for winning a second prize for his CSSH article “Ottoman Infrastructures of the Saudi Hydro-State: The Technopolitics of Pilgrimage and Potable Water in the Hijaz” (CSSH 57-4, 2015). This one is the international prize awarded biannually by Comité International des Études Pré-Ottomanes et Ottomanes (CIEPO) for the best article by an early-career scholar in Ottoman and/or Pre-Ottoman Studies. As we noted recently, the paper also won the American Society for Environmental History’s Alice Hamilton Prize for Best Article outside Environmental History.

CSSH Co-Editor Geneviève Zubrzycki (CSSH 58-1, 2016, “Nationalism, ‘Philosemitism,’ and Symbolic Boundary-Making in Contemporary Poland”) has a new book, Beheading the Saint: Nationalism, Religion, and Secularism in Quebec (University of Chicago Press, 2016). Here is an overview of the book from the UCP website:

Through much of its existence, Québec’s neighbors called it the “priest-ridden province.” Today, however, Québec society is staunchly secular, with a modern welfare state built on lay provision of social services—a transformation rooted in the “Quiet Revolution” of the 1960s. In Beheading the Saint, Geneviève Zubrzycki studies that transformation through a close investigation of the annual Feast of St. John the Baptist of June 24. The celebrations of that national holiday, she shows, provided a venue for a public contesting of the dominant ethno-Catholic conception of French Canadian identity and, via the violent rejection of Catholic symbols, the articulation of a new, secular Québécois identity. From there, Zubrzycki extends her analysis to the present, looking at the role of Québécois identity in recent debates over immigration, the place of religious symbols in the public sphere, and the politics of cultural heritage—issues that also offer insight on similar debates elsewhere in the world.

Rebecca Gould (CSSH 57-1, 2015,  Ijtihād against Madhhab: Legal Hybridity and the Meanings of Modernity in Early Modern Daghestan“) has a new book: Writers & Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus (Yale University Press, 2016). Here is a press overview:

Spanning the period between the end of the Russo-Caucasian War and the death of the first female Chechen suicide bomber, this groundbreaking book is the first to compare Georgian, Chechen, and Daghestani depictions of anticolonial insurgency. Rebecca Gould draws from previously untapped archival sources as well as from prose, poetry, and oral narratives to assess the impact of Tsarist and Soviet rule in the Islamic Caucasus. Examining literary representations of social banditry to tell the story of Russian colonialism from the vantage point of its subjects, among numerous other themes, Gould argues that the literatures of anticolonial insurgency constitute a veritable resistance—or “transgressive sanctity”—to colonialism.