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

Hamilton awards
(Left to right) College of Liberal Arts Associate Dean for Research Esther Raizen, grand prize winner Associate Professor of Islamic art and architecture Stephennie Mulder, UT Austin Vice President for Research Dr. Juan Sanchez, and College of Fine Arts Dean Doug Dempster.

AUSTIN, Texas — 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.

Three other UT Austin professors received $3,000 runner-up prizes:

  • Donna Kornhaber, Department of English, for "Charlie Chaplin, Director” (Northwestern University Press)
  • Fernando L. Lara, School of Architecture, for “Modern Architecture in Latin America: Art, Technology, and Utopia,” co-authored with Luis E. Carranza (University of Texas Press)
  • Kelly McDonough, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, for “The Learned Ones: Nahua Intellectuals in Postconquest Mexico” (University of Arizona Press)

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

Andrew Whinston, a professor in the Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management, received the $10,000 Career Research Excellence Award for his pioneering research in information systems and the development of a new academic discipline. In addition to his devotion to education and teaching, Whinston has contributed research in economics, operations research and computer science. He has been called an “intellectual father” of electronic commerce.

Maria A. Croyle, professor in the College of Pharmacy, was awarded the $3,000 Best Research Paper Award for "A single dose respiratory recombinant adenovirus-based vaccine provides long-term protection for non-human primates from lethal Ebola infection,” co-authored by a team of scientists at UT led by Croyle. Croyle is also a member of the newly formed Center of Infectious Diseases on campus. The research was significant and timely, with publication as the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was peaking.

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.