Golden fireworks

BISA 2022 prize winners announced

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We're delighted to announce the winners of the 2022 BISA awards and prizes. Our annual awards recognise excellence and achievement through research and teaching in the field of International Studies, and are announced at our conference each year.

The winners are:

Read on to find out more about each winner and what the judges said. At the bottom of the page you can also find short videos from each winner giving their reactions to finding out they had won.

Distinguished Contribution Prize - Joint winners: Christopher Hill and Shirin Rai

The Distinguished Contribution Prize recognises contribution to the promotion of excellence in the discipline of International Studies over a substantial period of time. This year the judges made two recommendation for the BISA Distinguished Contribution Prize.

For Christopher Hill, the panel noted the following contributions and achievements in making its recommendation:

“Christopher has a distinguished record of research, with path-breaking publications on European foreign policy cooperation and British foreign policy. These publications have been a shaping influence on the study of the European Union and UK external relations.”

“Christopher has been a principal mover and influential exponent of the sub-discipline of Foreign Policy Analysis. He has an international in outlook and commitment (having held academic posts in Italy, Spain, the USA and translated work from French). He has also given extensive service to the institutions he has been part of, and to the profession, including mentoring a large number of students. He is a past vice-chair and chair of BISA (1996 – 2000) and has been coordinator of FORNET, member of the Politics/IR sub-panel for the 2008 RAE, team leader for two EU Framework funded projects – EU-CONSENT and MERCURY, a council member of Chatham House and more.”

For Shirin Rai, the panel noted the following contributions and achievements in making its recommendation:

“Shirin has a distinguished record of research, with ground-breaking publications on gender and development, political economy and governance. She has done a wide range of inter-disciplinary work across IR, area studies, political economy, history and comparative politics, and has made signature contributions to each field. Shirin has given a long and varied service to the profession through countless journals, as Director of WCID at Warwick, as a member of REF sub-panel and more.”

Susan Strange Best Book Prize - Sumi Madhok

The aim of this prize is to honour the work of Susan Strange and to recognise outstanding current work being conducted in the discipline. This year’s prize was awarded to Sumi Madhok, Vernacular Rights Cultures: The Politics of Origins, Human Rights and Gendered Struggles for Justice. Cambridge University Press.

The judging panel said:

"Vernacular Rights Cultures poses a significant and timely question for international studies: what different stories of human rights would emerge if we took the perspectives of those demanding haq throughout the world? How would this disrupt human rights politics and what kinds of new possibilities for imagining and expanding justice might emerge? It provides answers by exploring vernacular rights cultures which are made through subaltern struggles in which demands for haq undermine national borders and formations. By doing so, Vernacular Rights Cultures demonstrates how identifying local translations of international human rights concepts is not enough; rather, the field must be sensitive to vernacular rights cultures grounded in completely different imaginaries, premises, and subjectivities. By doing so, human rights, politics, and even justice can be positively transformed."

"In making these significant contributions, the judging panel noted that Vernacular Rights Cultures provides rich philosophical analysis of key concepts by drawing from feminist political ontologies and decolonial thought. In turn, these conceptual discussions are informed by ethnographic work with communities in Rajasthan. This rigorous approach has enabled the book to capture the epistemological, ontological, and political formations underpinning contending rights cultures and identify key differences in their political imaginations. As such, Vernacular Rights Cultures is a brilliant example of how international studies can engage with the ongoing legacies of colonialism to identify its pernicious effects by listening to those communities who are too often excluded from processes through which rights are claimed in their name."

L.H.M. Ling Outstanding First Book Prize - Sophie Haspeslagh

The aim of the L.H.M. Ling prize is to honour Lily's work and to recognise outstanding early career research in the discipline. This year’s prize was awarded to Sophie Haspeslagh. Proscribing peace: How listing armed groups as terrorists hurts negotiations. Manchester University Press.

The judging panel said:

"Sophie has produced an impressive piece of research on peace processes and the proscription of "terrorists". Her notion of a 'linguistic ceasefire' makes an original contribution to theorising peace processes by moving beyond Zartman's classic concept of the 'hurting stalemate' as the most significant turning point in conflict dynamics. Haspeslagh shows that the hurting stalemate in and of itself is not enough: it requires the additional move of a change in discursive practices of the parties to the conflict, the conscious 'de-vilification' of one another. The book is based on exceptionally thorough fieldwork in Columbia and Havana, involving carefully nurtured direct access to the FARC well before they opened up to the outside world. Drawing on her practitioner experience in conflict resolution, Haspeslagh makes an outstanding contribution at the level of ideas based upon rock solid empirical research."

There were also two honourable mentions given by the judges of the L.H.M. Ling Outstanding First Book Prize:

  • Jen Iris Allan. New Climate Activism: NGO Authority and Participation in Climate Change Governance. University of Toronto Press
  • Thom Tyerman. Everyday Border Struggles: Segregation and Solidarity in the UK and Calais. Routledge

Michael Nicholson Thesis Prize - Franco Galdini (University of Manchester)

The Michael Nicholson thesis jury agreed that this year’s award should go to Franco Galdini for their thesis The Post-Soviet Space and Uzbekistan in the International Division of Labour: From Transition to Capital Accumulation.

The jury noted the following:

"The thesis was extremely impressive. It substantially contributes to the literature on the political economy of transition in the former Soviet Union and to debates over combined and uneven development. It further foregrounded global capital accumulation to demystify the transformation of Uzbekistan in this context. Members of the judging panel further noted that its composition is sophisticated and well organised developing a Marxist approach and drawing on Feminist and Green perspectives."

The jury also highlighted two other nominations for honourable mentions:

  • Dean Cooper-Cunningham (University of Copenhagen). The International Politics of Sex Visual Activism in Response to Russian State Homophobia
  • Hannah Wright (LSE). The Making of Militarism: Gender, Race and Organisational Cultures in UK National Security Policymaking.

Best Article in the Review of International Studies (RIS) Prize - Joint winners: Maria Mälksoo and Thomas Kwasi Tieku

This Prize is awarded annually by the editorial advisory board of our journal Review of International Studies (RIS). It is awarded for the best article published in the previous year's volume of the journal. This year the board chose joint winners.

Maria Mälksoo - Militant memocracy in International Relations: Mnemonical status anxiety and memory laws in Eastern Europe, 47:4, 489-507

The judges noted:

“This is an excellent and timely article, which provides a novel theorisation of the nexus between memory, history and the international system through the innovative concept of ‘militant memocracy’: an original framework for understanding how states and other actors govern historical memory. In doing so, the article pushes the boundaries of both current memory studies and approaches to international status, by showing the role that internal contestation over memory laws and policy plays both in the formation of memory and in the international social positioning of states. The article unpacks these processes through an empirically rich and nuanced account of memory politics in three states in the CEE region: Russia, Poland, and Ukraine, demonstrating the global political stakes of states’ efforts to govern how national histories can - and cannot - be told. The analysis not only shows how memory laws play into status anxiety and status-seeking behaviour, but also draws attention to the exclusions and erasures that ensue.’

Thomas Kwasi Tieku - The Legon School of International Studies, 47:5, 656-671

The judges noted that:

“Situated at the forefront of research working to glean crucial insights about IR by recovering Global South, and specifically African intellectual histories, this article offers an original account of the Legon School of IR, which emerged in the early 1960s amidst broader efforts to decolonize knowledge in post-independence Ghana. Through expansive textual analysis, interview research, and grounding in material histories, it draws conceptual lessons from the Legon School, compellingly illustrating what happens when we move beyond an ‘add and stir’ model of inclusion, towards serious engagement with African and Global South IR as spaces of profound innovation. The article points to lessons from the Legon School’s disengagement from IR’s so-called “Great Debates,” adeptly placing the Legon School in relation to other relevant schools of IR thought (such as Global IR and Postcolonial IR), in order to identify fascinating convergences and divergences between their different approaches and histories. It offers a powerful account of the School’s insistence on the value of empirical work for dismantling colonial epistemes, of creating equity-oriented IR knowledge, of relational analysis, of the provision of policy advice in a post-independence context, and of challenging neoliberal pressures on critical scholarship. Many scholars of the discipline talk as if there is one history of IR. There are many. This excellent article offers not only a recovery of one of them, but a pathbreaking analysis of the gains of doing so. Its originality, quality of prose and clarity of argumentation make it a clear choice for IR syllabi and reading lists.”

Award for Distinguished Excellence in Teaching International Studies

The aim of this annual award is to recognise established academics, or teams of academics, who have contributed to the positive learning experience of students in International Studies. This year the judges chose to award this prize to joint winners: Claire Timperley and Kate Schick, Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington; and Michelle Bentley, Alex Gilder, Daniela Lai, Nicola Antoniou (Royal Holloway, University of London), and Nasir Ali (University of Hargeisa (Somaliland)).

Of Claire and Kate the judges noted:

“Claire and Kate’s engagement with indigenous knowledge is a central part of their teaching. It serves as an example of how to indigenise the curriculum. What particularly stands out is the length of time involved in their pedagogical work.”

On the team from RHUL and Hargeisa the judges said:

“The team have made a clear contribution to learning and teaching, innovation, engagement with a diverse student population, sharing of good practice, stimulating independent learning and critical thinking, and dissemination of good practice.”

Award for Early Career Excellence in Teaching International Studies - Pilar Elizalde (LSE)

The aim of this annual award is to recognise those early-career academics, or teams of academics, who have contributed to the positive learning experience of students in International Studies within the first five years of their career.

The judges said:

“Pilar stood out because the evidence provided included more than simply module evaluation questionnaire comments/results. There was significant evidence of a positive contribution to learning, including a department award, the use of innovative teaching strategies to address the challenges of teaching under the conditions of Covid-19, meeting the needs of a diverse student population, sharing of good practice with her colleagues, and stimulating independent learning and critical thinking. The building of a student community and her recognition of that is impressive.”

Award for Postgraduate Excellence in Teaching International Studies - John Wood (Aberystwyth University)

The aim of this annual award is to recognise postgraduate students who have contributed to the positive learning experience of students in International Studies.

The judges said:

“What stands out here is the reflexive nature of the submission. John is clearly thinking through his teaching, of what works, what does not, what needs to change, etc. Of particular significance was the use of primary documents, which is likely to help motivate students and offer insight into political practice outside of a ‘textbook’.”

Winner videos

Photo by Yiran Yang on Unsplash