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HIST Announces Award Winner

The Francesco Guiccardini Prize for the Best Book in Historical International Relations is awarded annually to those books that conduct careful historical analysis while producing significant insights into ongoing concerns in international studies. The selection committee for the 2013 Prize, consisting of George Lawson (chair), Benjamin de Carvalho and Andrea Paras, received 13 eligible nominations. The nominations represented a wide range of historical IR, from narrative accounts to historically sensitive theory development. This was one of those occasions when being part of a committee was not a chore – the books were of an extremely high calibre and all three members of the committee learned a lot from reading them.

After careful consideration – and extensive debate – the committee awarded the 2013 FG Prize to:

  • Julian Go, Patterns of Empire: The British and American Empires, 1688 to the Present, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. Patterns of Empire is a timely book that uses a comparative study of the America and British empires to argue against notions of American exceptionalism. Both in its ambition and execution, Patterns of Empire is a worthy winner of the first Francesco Guicciardini Prize; the book is an exemplary marriage of rigorous historical engagement with a bold and clear theoretical ambition. Prior works on the topic are elegantly balanced against primary sources without fear of engaging critically with well-established theories in the field. Offering a broad and daring take on large-scale comparisons, Go forces us to think broadly. Patterns of Empires is a rich book, both theoretically and empirically, with an original and convincing argument. As one member of the Committee put it, “it's simply a beautiful read.”

Reflecting the high quality of submissions received, the committee also awarded an 'honourable mention' to two further books:

  • Andrew Phillips, War, Religion and Empire: The Transformation of International Orders, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. War, Religion and Empire, is an exemplary illustration of the capacity of international historical sociology to deliver both theoretical and empirical insights. Not only does the book contribute to theoretical understandings of the rise and fall of international orders, it also contains a number of important empirical insights, particularly when it comes to analysis of China's modern history. All in all, this is a deeply impressive book, combining historical, sociological and IR registers in a way that opens up a new front in constructivist IR.
  • John Hobson, The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics: Western International Theory, 1760-2010, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics demonstrates how imperialist and anti-imperialist forms of Eurocentrism pervade international theory, both within International Relations and in political theory more generally. It brings an impressive historical and theoretical scope to defend the claim that all genres of international theory - mainstream and critical - exist to defend the normative ideal of the West. Hobson makes an important provocation to scholars of all theoretical persuasions to re-examine their underlying ethical commitments, and to acknowledge that value¬≠free theory is a myth to be discarded once and for all.
The deadline for submissions for the 2014 Francesco Guiccardini Prize is July 1, 2014.  Please check the ISA prize website for more details.

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