College of Liberal Arts

Book on Medieval Syrian Shrines Takes Grand Prize at UT Austin Hamilton Book Awards

Tue, Nov 3, 2015
A detail of the Portal of al-Zahir, Mashhad al-Husayn, featured on the cover of Mulder's book.
A detail of the Portal of al-Zahir, Mashhad al-Husayn, featured on the cover of Mulder's book.

Stephennie Mulder, associate professor of Islamic art and architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, has been named the $10,000 grand prize winner of the 2015 University Co-op Robert W. Hamilton Book Awards for her work "The Shrines of the ‘Alids in Medieval Syria: Sunnis, Shi’is, and the Architecture of Coexistence.”

The Hamilton Awards are among the highest honors of literary achievement given to UT Austin authors.

The awards are named for Professor Robert W. Hamilton, the Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair-Emeritus in Law, who served as chair of the board of the University Co-op from 1989 to 2001.

"The Shrines of the ‘Alids in Medieval Syria: Sunnis, Shi’is, and the Architecture of Coexistence” (published by Edinburgh University Press) is the first illustrated, architectural history of these shrines, increasingly endangered by the conflict in Syria. Mulder, a specialist in Islamic architectural history and archaeology, spent years in the field in Syria and throughout the Middle East. She works on the conservation of antiquities and cultural heritage sites endangered by war and illegal trafficking, and is a founder of UT Antiquities Action, a group dedicated to raising awareness of the loss of cultural heritage.

Two other faculty from the College of Liberal Arts received $3,000 runner-up prizes:

  • Donna Kornhaber, Department of English, for "Charlie Chaplin, Director” (Northwestern University Press)
  • Kelly McDonough, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, for “The Learned Ones: Nahua Intellectuals in Postconquest Mexico” (University of Arizona Press)

Grand prize winners from the past five years include history professor Denise Spellberg, LLILAS faculty affiliate Julia Guernsey, psychology professor James Pennebaker, classics and religious studies professor L. Michael White, and American studies and African and African diaspora studies associate professor Shirley Thompson.

The University Co-operative Society also announced winners for its research awards Monday.

The $3,000 Creative Research Award was presented to Elizabeth McCracken, Department of English, for her book “Thunderstruck & Other Stories” (The Dial Press, Random House). Winner of the Story prize and longlisted for the National Book Award, it was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews among others.

The University Co-op is a not-for-profit corporation owned by UT Austin students, faculty members and staffers. Since 2000, it has given more than $34 million to the university in gifts, grants and rebates.

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