2005 Arkansas Arabic Translation Award Announced

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark -- The University of Arkansas Press and the King Fahd Center of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of Arkansas are pleased to announce the winner of the 2005 Arkansas Arabic Translation Award. This year’s winner is L. Carl Brown, for his translation of “Consult Them in the Matter: A Nineteenth Century Islamic Argument for Constitutional Government” by the Tunisian historian Ahmad ibn Abi Diyaf.

     Ahmad ibn Abi Diyaf (1802/03-1874), known to his contemporaries as Bin Diyaf, was, writes Brown, “no closet historian or political philosopher.” Rather, he was a leading proponent of modernizing reform in the Muslim world. Tunisia was at the time officially a province of the Ottoman Empire; however, it was viewed as an independent state with its own hereditary ruling family, bureaucracy, and military. In 1861, Tunisia became the first such state in the Middle East to adopt a constitution and experiment with parliamentary government.

Bin Diyaf, a key figure in this process, defended constitutionalism against the skepticism of more traditional autocratic political and religious elites. Drawing upon Islamic political and legal traditions, he here argues for the validity of constitutional rule, making this a pioneering text in modern Arab and Islamic political philosophy.

     L. Carl Brown is the Garrett Professor in Foreign Affairs Emeritus at Princeton University, and long-time chairperson of the department of Near Eastern studies. He is the author of numerous books and articles, among them, “The Surest Path: The Political Treatise of a Nineteenth Century Muslim Statesman” (1967), “The Tunisia of Ahmed Bey” (1975), “International Politics in the Middle East: Old Rules, Dangerous Game” (1984), and “Religion and State: The Muslim Approach to Politics” (2000). He has trained many leading scholars in Middle East Studies.

     The Arkansas Arabic Translation Award carries a $10,000 cash prize, with $5,000 going to the translator and $5,000 to the author or estate. It was established to support and to publish fine translations of important Arabic writing. Translators interested in submitting book-length manuscripts for the 2006 prize can find information on submission guidelines and deadlines on the Web site of the University of Arkansas Press, http://www.uapress.com/ .



Thomas Lavoie, marketing director, University of Arkansas Press
                 (479) 575-6657, tlavoie@uark.edu

 Joel Gordon, assistant professor of history, Fulbright College
                    (479) 575-3001, joelg@uark.edu


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