Attiya Ahmad – Fatima Mernissi Book Award Winner

IMES proudly congratulates Attiya Ahmad, Associate Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs, for winning the 2018 Middle East Studies Association Fatima Mernissi Book Award. We are proud to announce that Dr. Ahmad's book has also:

Won the Association for Middle East Women's Studies Book Award
Shortlisted for the British-Kuwait Freindship Society Book Prize, presented in association with the British Society for Middle East Studies
Received an Honorable Mention for the Sara A Whaley Book Prize on Women and Labour, presented by the National Women's Studies Association
Received an Honorable Mention for the Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion, presented by the Society for the Anthropology of Religion

"Attiya Ahmad has provided an analytically sharp and deeply humane ethnography of religious conversion to Islam, which also offers insights into the cultural and gender dynamics of migration and labor history. She focuses above all on the experiences of South Asian female domestic workers and the obligations they carry, often over decades, towards both their (mostly Hindu and Christian) families in the “homeland,” and their Muslim employers in Kuwait. This monograph is often poignant and even poetic; Ahmad captures the thoughts and ideas of women who seem to live in a state of always-waiting, always-watching, and ever-working, and who find solace in Muslim devotion. Ahmad’s theoretical analysis is outstanding.  She challenges not only perceptions of conversion, but also conventional wisdom about domestic laborers in the Gulf, their relations with their employers, and what their careers in the Gulf imply about their identity – especially since they are legally “temporary” workers, even though they often spend their entire working lives in the region. Ahmad brings her subjects to life, making their complex experiences across time and cultures shine through the narrative. This book is lovingly researched, quiet in its aim, and yet stunning in its delineation of the lives of the women studied.  For all these reasons, the Committee is proud to award the Fatima Mernissi Prize to Attiya Ahmad’s Everyday Conversions." - MESA Award Committee