Sunday, August 05, 2007

Political theory awards

From the Foundations of Political Theory organized section of APSA.


The David Easton Award is given for a book that broadens the horizons of contemporary political science by engaging issues of philosophical significance in political life through any of a variety of approaches in the social sciences and humanities. The award is limited to books published in the previous five years and carries a cash prize of $500.

This year's award goes to Quentin Skinner, of Cambridge University

for Visions of Politics, 3 Volumes, (Cambridge University Press, 2002)


Jennifer Pitts, Princeton University; Shannon Stimson, University of California-Berkeley; Stephen White (Chair of Committee), University of Virginia.

First Book Award

The First Book Award is given for a first book by a scholar in the "early stages of his or her career" in the area of political theory or political philosophy. "Early stages" is interpreted to mean that the recipient cannot have held his or her PhD for more than ten years. This award carries a cash prize of $200.00.

This year's award goes to Bryan Garsten, of Yale University, for Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment (Harvard University Press, 2006)

According to the Committee:

In this impressive and timely study, Bryan Garsten explores the early modern critique of rhetoric and persuasively argues on behalf of a classically-based alternative of responsible rhetoric and dialogically-based political judgment. Initially a response to the breakdown of authoritative political and religious sources, early modern liberal thinkers like Hobbes, Rousseau and Kant developed theories of "public reason" that valorized increasingly abstract, elite, and centralized forms of political decision-making. By contrast, thinkers like Aristotle and Cicero commended more public and open forms of political deliberation - now based upon a shared store of rhetorical conventions - yet were both sensitive to, and warned against the dangers of demagogic rhetorical manipulation. One ironic conclusion of Garsten's study is to suggest that ancient thinkers had greater confidence in public reasonableness than was explicitly the case for liberal philosophers. Garsten's sensitive and detailed exegeses are judicious, mature, and resonate deeply with contemporary debates over democratic deliberation and the role of reason and rhetoric in politics.

Best First Book Honorable Mention: Davide Panagia, The Poetics of Political Thinking (Duke 2006):

In The Poetics of Political Thinking , Davide Panagia provides a strikingly original perspective on aesthetics, ethics, and politics. Political theories, he argues, are composed of mutilayered, multivalent ideas and, hence, are best understood as "images" of thinking rather than philosophical arguments. By weaving together painting, poetry, and philosophy, Panagia reveals how unrepresentability haunts our thinking about politics. His new readings of Hobbes, Rawls, and Habermas place their ideas in productive conversation with Deleuze, Ranciere, and Hazlitt, among others. The images of political thinking that emerge mirror the "disjunctive encounters between dissimilars" characteristic of democratic negotiations of difference. Panagia's eloquently written and thought-provoking book challenges political theorists to think differently about how we read and what we do.


Patrick Deneen (Chair of Committee), Georgetown University; Roxanne Euben,
Wellesley College; Nancy Love, Pennsylvania State University