Please join us in congratulating our colleague Suzanne Stetkevych upon being bestowed by the Board of Directors of the Middle East Medievalists with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her service with distinction to the field of medieval Middle Eastern Studies.
A specialist in Classical Arabic Poetry, Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych has published extensively in English and Arabic. Her research is primarily concerned with the ritual, performance and performative underpinnings of classical Arabic poetry in its literary-historical settings. In studies ranging from the pre-Islamic tribal and royal ode of the Jahiliyya, to the court praise odes of the Islamic caliphate, the devotional poetry of the Medieval Period and the Neo-Classical ode of the Nahdah and Colonial period, she engages ritual theory, rite of passage, gift exchange and sacrificial rituals to reveal the socio-economic role of the qasida, the ceremonial aspects of qasida performance as a courtly negotiation of status and legitimacy, and the spiritually and politically transformative role of madih nabawi (praise poems to the Prophet Mohammad). Her courses include Poetry and Empire: the Arabic Ode; Poetry as Performance; Pre-Islamic Poetry: Orality, Ritual and Performance; Theoretical Approaches to the Arabic Ode; Modern Arabic Poetry; and Classical Arabic Literary Texts. She is currently working on a project on the transformation of Arabic poetics and aesthetics from Classical to Post-Classical the two poetry diwans of the celebrated blind Syrian poet, Abu al-‘Ala’ al-Ma‘arri (d. 1058 CE).