The Archaeological Institute of America has bestowed its 2020 James R. Wiseman Book Award on UCI professor of art history and visual studies Matthew P. Canepa, the Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History and Archaeology of Ancient Iran, for his book The Iranian Expanse: Transforming Royal Identity Through Architecture, Landscape, and the Built Environment, 550 BCE-642 CE (University of California Press, 2018). The Archaeological Institute of America presents the annual Wiseman award to the author of the academic work on an archaeological topic that it deems most worthy of recognition. In The Iranian Expanse, Canepa explores more than 1,000 years of art and archaeological history, from the Achaemenid period to the arrival of Islam, and elucidates the formation of Iran’s most important religious and royal traditions, including sacred spaces, palaces and paradise gardens. In doing so, he takes a radically new theoretical approach to understanding how natural, urban and architectonic spaces form, sustain and manipulate conceptions of the past and cultural identity – with implications beyond ancient Near Eastern studies. “I am deeply honored to see my work recognized in this way, especially by an organization as important to the discipline as the Archaeological Institute of America,” Canepa said. He will accept the book award in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 4 in a ceremony at the institute’s annual meeting.