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.

Eligibility: The award will be given annually to a paper studying any aspect of political life that either engages interpretive methodological issues or that reports the results of empirical research using interpretive research methods.

Details: For full details please and the complete call for nominations please see the 2020 announcement.

Submission Process: To be considered for the award to be given at APSA 2020, nominated papers must be received by March 31, 2020. The award will be given for work presented at a conference during academic year 2018-2019 (between September 15, 2018 and September 14, 2019). Authors may nominate their own work. We also encourage chairs of panels as well as discussants to nominate outstanding papers from their conference sessions. One copy of the nominated paper should be emailed as a pdf or Word file to the chair of the award committee.Members of the award committee for 2020 are: Stacey Philbrick Yadav, Chair (Hobart and William Smith Colleges), Carolyn Holmes (Mississippi State University), and Christian Sorace (Colorado College).

Please send nominated papers to Stacey Philbrick Yadav at

Previous recipients of the Hayward Alker Best Student Paper Award:

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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