The Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has awarded its 2018 World Award for Book of the Year to historian Richard Payne for A State of Mixture: Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity.
The book explores the problem of religious diversity within the Iranian Empire during the late antiquity, showing how Syriac-writing Christians created a place for themselves in a political culture not of their own making. Payne, Associate Professor in the Department of History, the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and the Oriental Institute, will receive the prize at a February 6 ceremony in Tehran.
The World Award for Book of the Year recognizes authors "for elevating the general knowledge and culture, and developing public scholarship/readership with the Islamic and Iranian written heritage." The honor joins many others for A State of Mixture, including the Barzun and Yarshater prizes, and the award for Excellence in the Study of Religions.
Payne joined the University in 2013 as a Neubauer Family Assistant Professor. His current work addresses the role of Zoroastrian religious institutions and the intersection of ideological and material dimensions in Iranian history.