Prof. M. Christopher Low’s book earned the 2021 Albert Hourani Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association

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Image courtesy of Middle East Studies Association

Congratulations to Prof. M. Christopher Low, whose book Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj (Columbia University Press, 2020), earned the 2021 Albert Hourani Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association, the most prestigious book prize in the field of Middle East history. In its citation the award committee called the book “a fascinating account of the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca amid the transformations wrought by Ottoman modernity and European colonial ambitions.” Noting that Prof. Low draws on an impressive range of archival sources from three continents, the committee applauded how the book “delves into bureaucratic practices, surveillance, disease control, and global transportation in rich and engaging detail,” providing readers with “a local history of Mecca and a global history that foregrounds non-Western institutions and actors.” Characterizing Imperial Mecca as “a page-turner,” earning the award is an impressive achievement.