Book shortlisted for prize recognizing best scholarly works in Middle Eastern studies

CATEGORIES: Honored, News, Notable
cover image of book overlaid on aerial view of ISU

The work of Michael Christopher Low, assistant professor of history, was recently elevated to international prestige – selected for the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize’s shortlist.

HRH The Prince of Wales and Dr. Sheikha Sou’ad Al Sabah, an internationally acclaimed poet, economist and member of the Kuwaiti royal family, are patrons of the prize, which recognizes the best scholarly work in Middle Eastern studies. Awarded annually, the prize honors books that further the understanding of the Middle East among English speaking audiences throughout the world. Judges consider originality of the work, accessibility for a wide audience, and the importance of the work to Middle Eastern studies.

Low’s book “Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj” examines the pilgrimage to Mecca, Ottoman imperial rule in Arabia, and their respective intersections with European colonialism, global trade, public health, and international law in the Middle East and Indian Ocean.

Low is also co-editor (with Lâle Can, Kent Schull, and Robert Zens) of “The Subjects of Ottoman International Law.” His articles have appeared in “Comparative Studies in Society and History,” “Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East,” “Environment and History,” the “International Journal of Middle East Studies,” and the “Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association.” His articles have received awards from the American Society for Environmental History and the Comité International des Études Pré-Ottomanes et Ottomanes. He also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Global History and the Journal of Tourism History.

His research and language training have been supported by the American Institute for Yemeni Studies; Columbia University’s Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life; the David L. Boren National Security Education Program; the University of Glasgow’s William Lind Foundation; the Institute of Turkish Studies; Iowa State University’s Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities; Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED); and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Most recently, Low was awarded the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) Dean’s Emerging Faculty Leaders Award and selected as a senior Humanities Research Fellow for the Study of the Arab World at NYU Abu Dhabi. While in residence in the United Arab Emirates, he continued work on several new monograph and article projects exploring the entangled enviro-technical histories of desalination technology, water production, infrastructure, energy, and climate change in the Arabian Peninsula, the wider Middle East, and more globally.

The final prize selection will be announced later this year.