Marina Rustow awarded Medieval Academy of America’s Haskins Medal for ‘astonishing’ book on Cairo’s ‘Lost Archive’

Feb. 9, 2022

Marina Rustow, the Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East, professor of Near Eastern studies and history, has been awarded the 2022 Haskins Medal by the Medieval Academy of America for her book “The Lost Archive: Traces of a Caliphate in a Cairo Synagogue.

First presented in 1940, the Haskins medal honors Charles Homer Haskins, the noted medieval historian, who was a founder of the Medieval Academy and its second president. Rustow’s award citation reads in part: “[‘The Lost Archive’] displays an astonishing level of technical virtuosity, stitching together a masterful analysis of Fatimid administrative practices from, literally, the scraps of records that had been torn up, repurposed, written over, and then thrown away. From these evanescent traces, it also draws broad and well-founded conclusions about the structures of medieval Islamic governments, the lingering effects of Orientalism in Western scholarship, and the nature of archives themselves.

“It transforms key paradigms not just within medieval studies but also in the fields of Islamic Studies, Jewish Studies, Mediterranean Studies, and Near and Middle Eastern Studies. … [Rustow’s] book is alive with the joys of intense scholarly endeavor. ‘The Lost Archive’ excels on multiple levels, makes important contributions to several fields, and speaks to a wide range of readers.”