The Hayward R. Alker Best Student Paper Award

The Hayward R. Alker award recognizes the American Political Science Association (APSA) conference paper by a Ph.D. student that best demonstrates the uses of interpretive methodologies and methods for the study of the politics.

This award is named to honor the memory of Hayward R. Alker, John A. McCone Chair in International Security at the School of International Relations, University of Southern California, and former President of the International Studies Association, who passed away on August 24, 2007. From his humanistic critique of mainstream political science, to the role he played in the development and promotion of interdisciplinary, historically grounded, linguistically and hermeneutically-informed approaches to political science, Hayward Alker was a tireless champion of interpretive methodologies. His commitment to nurturing and encouraging graduate students and young scholars makes this award a doubly appropriate way to honor his contributions.

Selection Criteria

The award will be given to a paper studying any aspect of political life that either (1) engages interpretive methodological issues or (2) reports the results of empirical research conducted using interpretive research methods. Usually, the award is given to papers presented at a conference during the academic year preceding the year of the submission deadline. Therefore, the award that will be presented at APSA 2022 is for work presented at a conference during the academic year 2020-2021.

Reflecting Hayward Alker’s eclectic approach to political studies, the conference can be affiliated with any of the US–based political science associations (e.g., APSA, WPSA, MPSA, or other regional or state meetings). It can also be another association, such as ECPR, IPSA or the International Studies Association and its regional meetings, as long as the paper was written by a student enrolled in a US graduate program.

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 CG). The award committee is, however, under no obligation to make an award for a year in which submissions do not merit such recognition.

A copy of the 2021 Call is available here (pdf).

Previous recipients of the Hayward Alker Best Student Paper Award:

2021: Rahardhika Utama (PhD candidate, Northwestern University) for “Politics of Memory, Underdevelopment, and Remnants of Political Violence in the Sumatra Rubber Belt” presented at the Southeast Asia Research Group Mini Conference II, August 2020. Citation.

2020: Devon Cantwell (Ph.D. candidate, University of Utah) for “Decision 2030: An Empirical Analysis of City Climate Action Planning and Decision-Making,” presented at the 2019 meeting of the Western Political Science Association in San Diego. Citation.

2019: Zainab Alam (Ph.D. candidate, Rutgers University, New Brunswick) for “Do-it-Yourself Activism in Pakistan: The Fatal Celebrity of Qandeel Baloch,” which was self-nominated and presented at the International Feminist Journal of Politics (IFJP) Conference in April 2018 and at the North American Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies (NAAIMS) Conference in September 2018. The paper is forthcoming at Perspectives on Politics. Citation and photo.

2018: Martha Balaguera (University of Toronto) for “Intersecting transit(ions): Confinement, migration and gender at the limits of sovereignty.” The paper, which was self-nominated, was presented November 2016 at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association in Denver, Colorado while she was a doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Citation and photo.

2017: Michelle Weitzel (Ph.D. candidate, New School for Social Research) for “An Acoustemology of Conflict in Israel-Palestine: Toward a Theory of Sound-Power,” presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association in San Diego. Citation and photo.

2016: Kevin Funk (now Department of Political Science, University of the District of Columbia), for “Capitalists of the World, Unite?”and Tanya Schwarz (Department of Political Science, UC Irvine), for “Inter-Religious Peace-building: Engaging Religious Diversity in Faith Based Organizations.” Both papers were presented at the 2015 meeting of the American Political Science Association in San Francisco. Citation and photo.

2015: David L. Jones (SUNY, Albany) for his paper “Culture in the Court: Explaining Bowers vs. Hardwick through Frame Analysis,” presented at the 2014 Law and Society Conference; self-nominated. Citation.

2014: Nicholas Rush Smith, for his paper “Contradictions of Vigilance: Contesting Citizenship in Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Citation.

2013: Devorah Manekin (Ph.D. candidate, UCLA) for her paper presented at APSA 2011, “Collecting Sensitive Data:  On the Challenges of Studying Violence in Conflict.” Citation.

2012: No award given.

2011: Konstantin Kilibarda (York University, Centre for International and Security Studies) for “Clearing Space – An Anatomy of Urban Renewal, Social Cleansing and Everyday Life in a Belgrade Mahala,” presented at the International Studies Association Annual Meeting, February 17-20, 2010 (New Orleans); nominated by Aida Hozic, University of Florida. Citation.

2010: Jennifer Dodge (Ph.D. candidate, New York University) for her paper “Tensions in Deliberative Practice: A View from Civil Society.” Citation.

2010 Honorable Mention: Shauhin Talesh (University of California at Berkeley) for his paper “Bargaining In the Shadow of ‘Shadow Law’: An Ethnography of How Business Organizations Shape the Meaning of Law in Private Organizational Courts.” Citation.

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