MALS Byam Shaw-Brownstone Thesis Award Recipients -

The Byam Shaw-Brownstone Thesis Excellence Award is awarded annually in recognition of outstanding thesis excellence. This year's recipients are Maria Iriondo for her work in creative writing, and Taqdees Mahmood for her thesis in general liberal studies.

The Byam Shaw-Brownstone Thesis Excellence Award is awarded annually in recognition of the outstanding thesis in each MALS concentration (General Liberal Studies, Creative Writing, Cultural Studies, and Globalization Studies).

Maria Iriondo is the 2023 MALS Thesis Award recipient for her work in the Creative Writing track.

Her thesis, a short story collection titled Farewell to Franco, is an effort to explore the literary form of costumbrismo—an interpretation of everyday life, mannerism, and customs in XIX century Spain. Bringing this form to life through five fictionalized stories set in the XX century, during the years surrounding dictator Francisco Franco's death in 1975, Maria draws on her own experiences as a child living in Madrid during the last years of the regime. Through these short stories, she captures the mood surrounding the end of a poignant chapter in Spain's modern history as well as the years that closely followed.

Maria plans to tackle another set of short stories based in Portugal around the time of the Carnation Revolution in 1974.

Taqdees Mahmood is the 2023 MALS Thesis Award Recipient for her work in the General Liberal Studies track.

Her thesis, titled Gendered Citizenship: Understanding Violence Against Women in Pakistan explores the question of why Muslim women who exercise their rights are potentially subject to violence in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. An examination of this question demonstrates the historical roots of violence and their continued effect on the Pakistani Muslim woman as a citizen. Starting from the colonial period, her thesis maps the nexus of the evolving understanding of the 'Muslim Woman' to the present gendered laws of the state. It demonstrates and explores the gap between rights given and rights exercised by showing the socio-political conception of the term 'Muslim' and 'woman' in Pakistan. 

Taqdees plans to continue exploring ways through which her writing and research can create a positive impact.