Hammoudi honored for literary reportage

Abdellah Hammoudi, professor of anthropology, has been honored with a Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage.

Hammoudi won the second prize of 30,000 Euro ($36,000) for his 2004 book, "A Season in Mecca. Account of a Pilgrimage." The book, published by Seuil in Paris, is the story of Hammoudi's pilgrimage to Mecca at age 50.

According to the international jury for the award, the book "describes the strong, sensual impressions in Medina and Mecca, and impressively gives anthropological, historical, religious and social insights into Islam."

The prize is intended to honor the extraordinary achievements of literary reportage, providing "symbolic, moral and financial support for reporters whose courage, curiosity and integrity drives them to create in-depth, well-researched texts, bringing unknown, forgotten and hidden realities to light." Organizers and supporters of the award are Lettre International, the Aventis Foundation and the Goethe-Institut.

Hammoudi, a faculty member since 1990, was the founding director of Princeton's Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. He has done extensive work on the ethnohistory of his native Morocco. He teaches courses on Middle Eastern society, colonialism and French ethnographic theory.