The Lee Ann Fujii Award for Innovation in the Interpretive Study of Political Violence

Sponsored by Routledge

The Lee Ann Fujii Award for Innovation in the Interpretive Study of Political Violence, funded by Routledge/Taylor & Francis, is to be given every other year to books, journal articles or book chapters, in recognition of the late Professor Fujii’s contributions to that area of inquiry. Dr. Fujii, who died unexpectedly in March 2018, was Associate Professor of political science at the University of Toronto. Her main field of study was comparative politics, as an Africanist specializing in genocide studies and (post-)conflict settings. Recently, she had expanded her research agenda to include the historical conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and the U.S. south.  In the course of her research, she developed a methodological expertise in interviewing, especially as articulated in her recently published Interviewing in Social Science Research: A Relational Approach (Routledge/T&F 2018), the fifth volume in the Routledge Series in Interpretive Methods.

The award honors her creative contributions to the study of political violence, including methods for doing such research. In her 2009 book Killing Neighbors: Webs of Violence in Rwanda (Cornell University Press), as well as in her book Show Time: The Logic and Power of Violent Display (Cornell UP, 2021) and other writings, Dr. Fujii developed fresh ways to investigate, conceptualize, and explain political violence in places as diverse as Rwanda, Bosnia, and the United States.

Among her methodological contributions, three innovations stand out:

This award recognizes published works that most innovatively study political violence from an interpretive perspective, memorializing Dr. Fujii’s approach to political research and her overall contributions to interpretive research methods. In keeping with her own efforts both to expose more hidden and systemic types of harm (racial and gender discrimination, in particular) and to understand what drives people to kill, the nominated work may take any type of political violence, broadly construed, as its concern. The violence might be direct and physical; it might be entrenched and structural, inflicting various forms of harm based on race, gender, class, economic, and other inequalities; it might be cultural and symbolic, serving to justify, normalize or naturalize harm or injustice. This award understands political violence to include not only violence between states (the traditional understanding of war and its aftermath) and between factions within a state, such as in civil wars, but also the ongoing “wars” against terrorism, possibly also against drug abuse, and also, significantly, domestic and sexual violence. Research on inter-state and civil wars has shown how such violence can be, and often is, intertwined with sexual violence. The use of rape to terrorize a population, for example, was particularly strong in the Yugoslavian wars, one of Professor Fujii’s areas of research. And then there is the sort of political violence committed by the guards at Abu Ghraib, a topic other political scientists have taken up.

The award recognizes works that not only report on findings, but which engage the methodological entailments and/or methods challenges of studies of political violence, broadly construed. Consideration will be given to interviewing, as in Dr. Fujii’s research, but also to other methods. The award committee will consider not only books and journal articles, but also chapter-length publications. In addition to considering chapters from edited books, eligibility will also extend to chapters from monographs that do not focus on political violence as a whole, but which include an outstanding and innovative methodological chapter (including, e.g., methodological appendices) that could lend itself to the study of violence.

Nominations for the 2023 Award are due Tuesday, February 1, 2023. The 2023 Award Announcement and details as to how to nominate are available here.

2021 Award Winner: Natasha Behl (Arizona State University), Gendered Citizenship: Understanding Gendered Violence in Democratic India (Oxford University Press, 2019). The 2021 citation is available here.

2021 Honorable Mention: Susan Thomson (Colgate University), “Engaged Silences as Political Agency in Post-Genocide Rwanda: Jeanne’s Story,” in Rethinking Silence, Voice and Agency in Contested Terrain edited by Jane L. Parpart and Swati Parashar (Routledge, 2019). The 2021 honorable mention citation is available here.

2021 Award Committee: Cecelia Lynch, chair (University of California-Irvine), Robin Turner (Butler University), and Frederic Schaffer (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

2019 Award Winner: Jana Krause (University of Amsterdam), Resilient Communities: Non-Violence and Civilian Agency in Communal War (Cambridge University Press, 2018). The 2019 citation is available here. Photos are available here and here.

2019 Award Committee: Kristen Monroe (University of California, Irvine), Chair, Mary Hawkesworth (Rutgers University), and Timothy Longman (Boston University)

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