The ISA Theory Section Edited Volume, Special Issue, or Symposium Award recognizes the best edited volume, special issue, or symposium published in the two calendar years prior to the meeting at which the award will be given that contributes to the theorization of world politics. The award is open to all forms and styles of theorization. Criteria include such considerations as innovativeness, quality of argumentation, and significance for the broad discipline of international studies.

The winner(s) will receive a plaque at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association. The “recipient” or “recipients” include the editor(s) of the chosen edited volume, special issue, or symposium. If not present, the plaque will be mailed to the recipient.

  1. Nominations should be emailed to the committee chairs Patrick Thaddeus Jackson and Adom Getachew accompanied by a brief letter explaining why a work deserves consideration for the award.
  2. Copies of nominated books should be sent to all members of the award committee
    1. Please contact the committee chairs, Patrick Thaddeus Jackson and Adom Getachewfor committee mailing addresses.
  3. Nominations are due by July 6th and edited volume, special issue or symposium must be received by July 24th.
  4. Date of publication is normally determined by copyright date for the first edition of a work. This year volumes published in 2019 and 2020 will be considered.

2017 Award

The Globalization of International Society, Edited by Tim Dunne and Christian Reus-Smit, Oxford University Press, 2016.

The Globalization of International Society re-examines the development of today’s society of sovereign states, drawing on a wealth of new scholarship to challenge the landmark account presented in Bull and Watson’s classic work, The Expansion of International Society (OUP, 1984). For Bull and Watson, international society originated in Europe, and expanded as successive waves of new states were integrated into a rule-governed order. International society, on their view, was thus a European cultural artefact – a claim that is at odds with recent scholarship in history, politics, and related fields of research.

Bringing together leading scholars from Asia, Australia, Europe, and the United States, this book provides an alternative account: it draws out the diversity of polities that existed at around c1500; it shows how interacting identities, political orders, and economic forces were intensifying within and across regions; it details the tangled dynamics that helped to globalize the European conception of a pluralist international society, through patterns of warfare and between East and West.

The Globalization of International Society examines the institutional contours of contemporary international society, with its unique blend of universal sovereignty and global law, and its forms of hierarchy that coexist with commitments to international human rights. The book explores the multiple forms of contestation that challenge international society today: contests over the limits of sovereignty in relation to cosmopolitan conceptions of responsibility, disputes over global governance, concerns about persistent economic, racial, and gender-based patterns of disadvantage, and lastly the threat to the established order opened up by the disruptive power of digital communications.

2016 Award

Making Things International, Edited by Mark J. Salter, University of Minnesota Press, 2015

Making Things International offers a sweeping demonstration of the value of the materialist turn and Actor-Network Theory for making sense of the everyday objects which comprise the ‘International’.  The wide range of objects included not only demonstrates the empirical purchase of these approaches, it also underscores their versatility in moving between what would normally be seen as a very disparate set of contexts.  Perhaps more than anything, the volume exhorts us to theorize the ‘International’ in a way that works with, rather than against, the ‘messiness’ of the world.  For these reasons it represents a major contribution to IR Theory.

The book introduces new objects/subject of international relations worthy of scholarly attention.  By looking at ‘objects’ otherwise presumed to be so obvious as to to need no explanation, the authors reveal the hitherto hidden dimensions of international understanding, exchange, and competition through the act of giving meaning to objects both at hand and in circulation.

Making Things International is timely and original contribution to rethinking “things and stuff” in IR.  The book poses a considerable challenge to several standard schemas in IR, such as agency being solely human-centered, the levels-of-analysis “problem”, and the separation of “materials” and “ideas.”  By analyzing the global circulations and mobilities of everyday objects, the contributors to MTI vividly demonstrate how these objects constitute assembled configurations of forces that are necessary for more fully understanding the international.