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 Group will announce and present the Award at the annual APSA conference during its business meeting or reception.
Nominations for the 2022 Award are due by April 15, 2022. The 2022 Award Announcement and details as to how to nominate are available here.
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.