Winner of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Early-Career Paper Prize 2016

Fatma Öncel


We are very happy to announce that the winner of the 2016 Middle East and Islamic Studies Early-Career Paper Prize is Fatma Öncel, PhD Candidate at Boğaziçi University, Turkey.


The jury considers Fatma Öncel a gifted young scholar who provides a convincing and important contribution to our field with her article " Land, Tax and Power in the Ottoman Provinces: The Malikane-Mukataa of Esma Sultan in Alasonya (c. 1780-1825)". Fatma will receive a €750,- cash prize and her article will be published in an upcoming issue of Turkish Historical Review.. It will be free to access up until a month after publication. More information will follow in upcoming Email Newsletters and via our social media channels.















This article focuses on Esma Sultan’s malikane-mukataa of Alasonya during c.1780-1825, which was among the estates of İstanbul Bahçekapusu Valide Sultan Vakfı. It aims at discussing the effects of the malikane system on the Ottoman provincial political-economy. It also highlights the institutional organization of a malikane in the province, by focusing on actors and their relations in the case of controversies. It is claimed here that vakıf-malikanes of the absentee-landlords, alongside with the estates of the local notables played an important role in the process of çiftlik-formation in Balkans.

Praise for the article from the reviewers

This is a very good article which, taking Esma Sultan’s malikane-mukataa of Alasonya in the period c. 1780 to 1825 as its case study, presents interesting and convincing arguments about land tenure and the functioning of malikane. The article addresses several important issues of the economic, fiscal and social transformations in the Rumelian provinces of the Ottoman Empire during the late eighteenth – early nineteenth century. On the basis of a thorough analysis of relevant sources, the case-study examines first the different categories of land tenure in the villages and the dynamics of landholding in the mukataas of Esma Sultan in connection with the rising of a powerful provincial ayan elite.

This article, with clearly formulated objectives, a logical structure, a consistent presentation and important and convincing conclusions prove the ability of the author to formulate significant research questions and to look at them from several perspectives.

We hope to be able to announce the host journal for our 2017 competition soon.

Brill’s Middle East and Islamic Studies Early-Career Paper Prize is made possible by the Sheikh Zayed Book Award for publishing. 

Previous winners

Unfortunately, no winner was selected for the 2015 Paper Prize. None of the received submissions was deemed suitable for publication in the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication.

The 2014 winner was Alexander E. Balistreri, then Ph.D. student at the Near Eastern Studies department at Princeton University. His article "Turkey's Forgotten Political Opposition: The Demise of Kadirbeyoglu Zeki Bey" was chosen as the best submission by the board of Brill's journal Die Welt des Islams.

For more information about Brill’s Middle East and Islamic Studies Early-Career Paper Prize, please contact: