Each year, Maastricht University awards a prize for the best dissertation defended in that calendar year. Five dissertations were nominated by the faculty deans this year and the winner was WTMC alumna Jess Bier with her dissertation titled, Mapping Israel, mapping Palestina. Sally Wyatt was her promoter.
Jess Bier examined how the segregated landscapes of Jerusalem and the West Bank influenced the way this region has been mapped since 1967. She studied how knowledge can change space and time, for example through urban planning and landscape management, and the development of international standards like time zones. According to the jury, this topic was researched in an entirely new and unique way. Much of her data was collected through extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Israel and Palestine. Jess currently works as an assistant professor of Urban Sociology at Erasmus University in Rotterdam.
Jess received her award at the UM Dies Natalis ceremony on 7 February 2017, where she was personally congratulated by German President Joachim Gauck, who received an honorary doctorate.