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PhD candidate, Konrad Siekierski wins the 2021 Arthur Maurice Hocart Prize

Konrad Siekierski wins 2021 Arthur Maurice Hocart Prize with his essay: Scripts, Saints, and Scientists: The Social Life of Gospel Books in an Armenian Museum

Image of a gospel manuscript
The Shurishkan Gospels – the most venerated miraculous Gospel Book in Armenia today (courtesy of the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts). Copyright Konrad Siekierski, 2018, all rights reserved. Used with Permission.

Konrad Siekierski, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, has won the 2021 Arthur Maurice Hocart Prize from the Royal Anthropological Institute for his essay titled 'Scripts, Saints and Scientists: The Social Life of Gospel Books in an Armenian Museum’. The Arthur Maurice Hocart Prize was established under the will of Mrs. E.G. Hocart in memory of her husband. It has been awarded annually since 1948 for the best postgraduate essay on an anthropological subject by a student registered at a British or Irish institution.

Konrad's essay explores the social life of Armenian christian Gospel Books in the Matenadaran in Yerevan, Armenia. The manuscript Gospel Books has become indispensable pieces of national heritage, material culture that depict and exemplify Armenian artistic and literary tradition. The article builds on how the social life of these Gospel Books relate to people in post-socialist Armenia. A period where the formation of the sacred and secular is shaped by Soviet legacies of desecration, museumification and heritagisation of religious culture.

The essay has been published fully open access in the Journal of Orthodox Christian Studies and you can read it here: muse.jhu.edu/article/802222

In March 2021, Konrad also won the Orthodox Christian Studies NEH Dissertation Completion Fellowship at Fordham University, which he has recently embarked upon.