At its annual meeting November 18–21, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) announced a new book award named for Professor Roger Owen of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University. The Roger Owen Book Award will recognize work on the Economics, Economic History, or Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa in the modern period, and will be awarded biennially to a single recipient.
In their announcement of the award MESA stated, "The purpose of the award is to honor the work of Roger Owen, A.J. Meyer Professor of History at Harvard University, and to encourage new scholarship incorporating economics and economic factors."
Roger Owen is a preeminent scholar of the economic and political history of the modern and early modern Middle East. He served as director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies from 1996 to 1999, and is one of the Center's core faculty members. His books include State, Power, and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East (2004), The Middle East in the World Economy, 1800-1914, with Şevket Pamuk (1981), Studies in the Economic and Social History of Palestine in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (1982), and Lord Cromer: Victorian Imperialist, Edwardian Proconsul (2004). Professor Owen's courses taught at Harvard have included Core courses on modern Middle Eastern history such as "The Economic History of the Middle East Since World War II" as well as graduate seminars such as "Readings in the History of Iraq, 1900-2006" and "Debates in the Economic and Social History of the Middle East."
The MESA book award in his name is Professor Owen's second major honor from the Middle East studies community this year. In July he was given the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES) "Award for Outstanding Contributions to Middle Eastern Studies, 2010," which he received jointly with Josef Van Ess, Emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies and Semitic Languages at the University of Tübingen, Germany.
CMES Director Baber Johansen said of the announcement, "It is with great pride that CMES takes note of the creation by MESA of the Roger Owen Book Award for work on the Economics, Economic History or Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa. Roger Owen's pathbreaking work in these fields has long been recognized as a fundamental contribution to the field by most scholars working on the Middle East and North Africa. It has been for many years of immense importance for research and teaching at Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies. We are grateful for MESA's recognition of the importance of Professor Owen's contribution to the field. MESA's creation of a book award in Roger Owen's name is, we think, a wonderful way to honor a great scholar."