The Charles Taylor Book Award recognizes the best book in political science that employs or develops interpretive methodologies and methods.
This award is named in recognition of the contributions of Charles Taylor to the advancement of interpretive thinking in the political and social sciences. In his 1971 essay “Interpretation and the Sciences of Man,” Taylor powerfully critiqued the aspiration to model the study of politics on the natural sciences, and he cogently explained how “interpretation is essential to explanation” in the human sciences. This essay, along with Taylor’s “Philosophical Papers” and many other articles, book chapters, and volumes, have long been a source of inspiration for scholars seeking to develop and apply an interpretive approach to the study of politics.
The award will be given to a book exploring any aspect of political life that either engages interpretive methodological issues or that reports the results of empirical research conducted using interpretive research methods. We will consider books of two types. The book can engage these ideas philosophically, in keeping with much of Professor Taylor’s work and the sense of ‘methodology’ as an expression and/or application of philosophical concerns, such as with ontological and epistemological issues. The book can also present empirical research, as long as it explicitly considers the methodological issues and concerns that arose in the conduct of the research. The book can be either a single- or multi-authored book or an edited volume.
Eligibility: The award will be announced and presented at the annual APSA conference during the business meeting or reception of the Interpretive Methodologies and Methods Conference-related Group (IMM). Books published in a two calendar year period prior to the year of the APSA meeting at which the award is presented are eligible; the book’s copyright date will be treated as the year of publication (that is, books copyrighted in 2020 and 2021 would be eligible for consideration for the award to be presented at the 2022 meeting). The award committee will, however, be under no obligation to make an award in a year in which submissions do not merit such recognition.
Previous recipients of the Charles Taylor Book Award:
2021: Thea Riofrancos (Providence College), for Resource Radicals: From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador (Duke University Press). Citation. The 2021 Announcement is available here.
2021 Honorable Mentions: Robert Nichols (University of Minnesota), for Theft is Property! Dispossession and Critical Theory (Duke University Press), Citation; and Diana S. Kim (Georgetown University), for Empires of Vice: The Rise of Opium Prohibition across Southeast Asia (Princeton University Press), Citation.
2020: Lisa Wedeen (University of Chicago), for Authoritarian Apprehensions: Ideology, Judgment, and Mourning in Syria (University of Chicago Press, 2019). Citation. The 2020 Announcement is available here.
2020 Honorable Mention: Nicholas Rush Smith (City College of New York), for Contradictions of Democracy: Vigilantism and Rights in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Oxford University Press, 2019). Citation.
2019: Matthew Longo (Leiden University), The Politics of Borders: Sovereignty, Security, and the Citizen after 9/11 (Cambridge University Press, 2018). Citation and photos (1 and 2). The 2019 Announcement is available here.
2019 Honorable Mentions: Lee Ann Fujii (late of University of Toronto), for Interviewing in Social Science Research: A Relational Approach (Routledge, 2018); Timothy Pachirat (University of Massachusetts at Amherst), for Among Wolves: Ethnography and the Immersive Study of Power (Routledge, 2018). Citation and photo.
2018: Bernardo Zacka (MIT), for When the State Meets the Street: Public Service and Moral Agency (Harvard University Press, 2017). Citation and photo.
2018 Honorable Mentions: Shiri Pasternak (Trent University) for Grounded Authority: The Algonquins of Barriere Lake Against the State (University of Minnesota Press, 2017). Citation; Stefanie Fishel (University of Alabama) for The Microbial State: Global Thriving and the Global State (University of Minnesota Press, 2017). Citation.
2017: Sarah Wiebe, University of Hawaii, for Everyday Exposure: Indigenous Mobilization and Environmental Justice in Canada’s Chemical Valley (Vancouver and Toronto: UBC Press, 2016). Citation and photo.
2016: Daniel Kato, Queen Mary University of London, Liberalizing Lynching: Building a New Racialized State (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). Citation.
2015: Davina Cooper, University of Kent, for Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces (Duke University Press, 2014). Citation and photo.
2014: Paul Amar, UC-Santa Barbara, for The Security Archipelago: Human-Security States, Sexuality Politics, and the End of Neoliberalism (Duke University Press, 2013). Citation.
2012: No books considered.
2011: No award presented.
2010: Michael Loriaux, Northwestern University, for European Union and the Deconstruction of the Rhineland Frontier (Cambridge University Press, 2008). Citation.