THEORY Best Book Award

The International Studies Association Theory Section Book Award recognizes the best book published in the two years prior to the conference at which the award will be given, which contributes to the theorization of world politics.


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  1. Must be a member of ISA.
  2. Authors may nominate themselves.
  3. Current officers of the Theory section and members of the committee are ineligible for the award.
  • The winner will receive a plaque at the section meeting during the ISA Annual Convention. If not present, the plaque will be mailed to the recipient.
  • Millennium: Journal of International Studies will feature a forum on the winning book in an upcoming issue.
  • Nominations should be emailed to the committee chairs, Lina Benabdallah and Hendrik Spruyt, accompanied by a brief letter explaining why a work deserves consideration for the award.
  • Nominations are due by June 30th, 2021 and books must be received by July 30th, 2021.
  • Copies of nominated books should be sent to all members of the award committee, with the line “Theory Section Book Award, c/o” at the top of each address. Please contact the committee chairs, Lina Benabdallah and Hendrik Spruyt, for committee mailing addresses.
  • Date of publication is normally determined by copyright date for the first edition of a work. This year, books published in 2020 and 2021 will be considered.


Congratulations to the 2021 recipients of the THEORY Best Book Award, Brent J. Steele, for Restraint in International Politics, and Hendrik Spruyt, for The World Imagined! See the previous recipients below.

Year Recipient Title
2021 Brent J. Steele

Hendrik Spruyt
Restraint in International Politics

The World Imagined
2020 Adom Getachew Worldmaking After Empire
2019 Jens Bartelson  
2018 Emma Hutchison Affective Communities in World Politics
2017 Patricia Owens Economy of Force: Counterinsurgency and the Historical Rise of the Social
2015 Lauren Wilcox Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations
2015 Stefano Guzzini  
2014 Patrick Thaddeus Jackson The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of Science and its Implications for the Study of World Politics
2013 Daniel Levine (Honorable Mention) Recovering International Relations: The Promise of Sustainable Critique

Committee Members

Lina Benabdallah | Co-Chair
April 2021-March 2022
ISA Theory Section Chair
Wake Forest University

Hendrik Spruyt | Co-Chair
April 2021-March 2022
Northwestern University

Patrick Thaddeus Jackson| Member
American University

Emma Hutchison | Member
The University of Queensland

Manali Kumar | Member
University of St. Gallen (HSG), Switzerland

Ian Hurd | Member
Northwestern University

Award Chairs, please review dates to ensure deadlines are met.

Key Dates