The Interpretive Methodologies and Methods Conference Group of the American Political Science Association invites nominations for the Charles Taylor Book Award, which it gives annually to recognize the best book in political science that employs or develops interpretive methodologies and methods.

This Award commemorates Charles Taylor’s contributions to interpretive thought in the political and social sciences. In “Interpretation and the Sciences of Man” (1971), Taylor critiqued aspirations to model the study of politics on the natural sciences, and 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 inspired scholars employing and developing interpretive methodologies and methods in the study of politics.

The Award will go to a book exploring any aspect of political life that addresses problems and topics in interpretive methodologies, or reports the results of empirical research using interpretive methods. Thus, the book might engage with the philosophy of interpretive political and social science, reflect upon methodological issues arising from interpretive research, and/or take the form of an empirical study that pursues interpretive research.

Eligible books will distinguish themselves as contributions to interpretivist thought in one or more of the following ways. First, they will treat knowledge, including scientific knowledge, as historically situated and enmeshed in relationships of power. Second, they will approach the world as socially made, so that the categories, presuppositions, and classifications that refer to particular phenomena are understood to be manufactured rather than natural. Third and relatedly, they will eschew the individualist orientation that characterizes rational choice and behaviorist research, instead addressing how ideas, beliefs, values, and preferences are always embedded in a social world, which is constituted through humans’ linguistic, affective, institutional, and practical relations with others.

Nominations are welcome from anyone. Authors may nominate their own work, as may readers and publishers. The nominated work may be either a single- or multi-authored book or an edited volume. To be eligible, books must have been published during the two-calendar-year period prior to the year of the APSA meeting, as determined by the printed book’s copyright date. To be eligible for the 2022 Charles Taylor Award, the nominated book must bear a copyright date of either 2020 or 2021. A book that was nominated for the 2021 Charles Taylor Award cannot be nominated again for the 2022 Award. The award committee is under no obligation to make an award if submissions do not merit such recognition.

The 2022 Charles Taylor Book Award has been jointly awarded by the selection committee of Diana Kim (chair), Jinee Lokaneeta, and Robert Nichols to Mona El-Ghobashy for Bread and Freedom: Egypt’s Revolutionary Situation (Stanford, 2021); and, Anastasia Shesterinina for Mobilizing in Uncertainty: Collective Identities and War in Abkhazia (Cornell, 2021). The awards will be formally presented and citations read at the IMM business meeting tentatively scheduled for Saturday, September 17th, 12 -1 pm Eastern Daylight Time. The business meeting will be conducted on Zoom and no registration for the 2022 APSA conference is required. All are welcome to attend. The 2022 Award Announcement is available here.

The 2023 Charles Taylor Book Award Announcement is available here (pdf). To be considered for the 2023 award, please do the following:

  1. Mail one copy of the nominated book to each member of the award committee (listed below) so as to be received by April 14, 2023.
  2. Email the committee chair Anastasia Shesterinina, anastasia.shesterinina@gmail.com, notifying her of the nomination.

Members of the award committee for 2023 are:

Anastasia Shesterinina (committee chair), Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Sheffield
Mail to: Elmfield Building, Northumberland Road, Sheffield, S10 2TU, UK

Mona El-Ghobashy, Liberal Studies, New York University
Mail to: 726 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10003, USA

Ido Oren, Department of Political Science, University of Florida
Mail to: 234 Anderson Hall, Box 117325, Gainesville, FL 32611-7325, USA