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BISA 2023 prize winners announced

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We're delighted to announce the winners of the 2023 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 - Andrew Linklater (in memoriam)

The Distinguished Contribution Prize recognises contribution to the promotion of excellence in the discipline of International Studies over a substantial period of time.

Juliet Dryden, BISA Director, said of Professor Linklater:

“A giant of British IR, Andrew was a brilliant and thoughtful scholar, IR theorist, inspiring teacher, committed mentor, and a wonderfully generous and kind man. He will be missed.”

Susan Strange Best Book Prize - Patricia Owens, Katharina Rietzler, Kimberly Hutchings and Sarah C. Dunstan

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 Patricia Owens, Katharina Rietzler, Kimberly Hutchings and Sarah C. Dunstan for Women's International Thought: Towards a New Canon, Cambridge University Press.

The judging panel said:

Women's International Thought: Towards a New Canon curates a series of works that made significant contributions to international thought at their time of writing/publication but that have subsequently, in many cases, been overlooked (alongside their authors) in histories of the discipline and its subfields. In aggregate, it draws attention to the intellectual diversity of the lineage of international thought, the diversity of venues in which international thought was developed, and thus provides a very different story from those reproduced in syllabi and scholarly works. The editorial introductions to each section masterfully interweave discussions of contexts, contributors, and contributions to provide compelling analyses that take account of the complexity of individuals, their circumstances, and their conceptualizations of the international and its myriad components. The elegance and attention to detail is truly remarkable. As both an anthology and analysis, it makes an outstanding intellectual contribution that will change how the field understands itself. Moreover, by adopting a collaborative ethos, Women's International Thought: Towards a New Canon demonstrates the rich intellectual benefits that arise from collective scholarly endeavor.”

L.H.M. Ling Outstanding First Book Prize – Joanne Yao

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 Joanne Yao for The Ideal River: How Control of Nature Shaped the International Order, Manchester University Press.

The judging panel said:

The Ideal River: How Control of Nature Shaped the International Order, authored by Dr Joanne Yao and published with Manchester University Press, is a beautifully written monograph exploring how 19th century ambitions to tame the environment and the natural world have shaped our imaginaries of the international order. The book, which embodies high scholarly standards, is particularly original and innovative in its way of examining geopolitics, boundaries and international institutions, as well as in its focus on areas of the world that have gained less attention in recent work in International Relations. Furthermore, in showing the wide-ranging significance of international efforts to tame rivers, in international commissions and in political imaginaries, The Ideal River makes a very original theoretical, conceptual, and empirical contribution, which could be considered potentially ground-breaking rather than incremental, to international studies. Its framework and historical-empirical material could be deemed relevant to IR as a whole. It could also conceivably appear on advanced UG or PG reading lists into the future.”

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

  • Katharine M. Millar. Support the Troops: Military Obligation, Gender and the Making of Political Community. Oxford University Press
  • Musab Younis. On the Scale of the World: The Formation of Black Anticolonial Thought. University of California Press

Michael Nicholson Thesis Prize - Niharika Pandit

The Michael Nicholson thesis jury agreed that this year’s award should go to Niharika Pandit for Life Under Military Occupation: An Anticolonial Feminist Analysis of Everyday Politics of Living in Kashmir.

The jury noted the following:

“This is a theoretical and empirically rich study that unpacks the everyday logics, discourses, affects and materiality of military occupation in Kashmir. It expands our knowledge and understanding of the everyday realities of those (out)living occupation. It draws attention to the logics of coloniality and the gendered and racialised hierarchies that make occupation possible and carefully teases out the possibilities for wilful politics within. The contributions are clearly articulated and sustained throughout the sections with moments of real insight and powerful, evocative, attentive writing. An insightful and compelling reading that takes seriously Kashmir not simply as an object of study, but as an epistemic location for understanding and perhaps resisting the global politics of militarisation. This excellent thesis stands out for its originality and coherence, with its bottom-up epistemology that offers a significant contribution to the critical study of militarisation/militarism. The innovative theoretical framework makes an important, tangible, contribution to ongoing efforts to decolonise knowledge production within international studies, and academic research more broadly. Methodologically, it is highly relevant to those interested in storytelling, ethnography and the use of creative methods in global politics.”

The jury also highlighted two other nominations for honourable mentions:

  • Nicole Bayat Grajewski. Russia and Iran in a Contested International Order: The Evolution of Moscow's Relations with Tehran
  • Gabriel Mares. Another Postcolonialism: Innovating Sovereignty from Below Through the Responsibility to Protect

Best Article in the Review of International Studies (RIS) Prize – Daniel Lambach

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 Daniel Lambach's 2022 article Space, scale, and global politics: Towards a critical approach to space in international relations. Review of International Studies 48(2): 282-300.

The judges noted:

“This is a well-written article that addresses an important conceptual issue relevant to many different areas of IR scholarship. The author engages with and effectively translates relevant work in geography, sociology, and anthropology to present an easily accessible yet sophisticated heuristic model that advances our ability theorise and analyse spatial questions. The approach expands our spatial vocabulary beyond territory to acknowledge alternative spatial forms (e.g. place, scale, network, body and landscape) and encourages inquiry about how different forms of space emerge, are reinforced, and interact in a given context. Throughout the manuscript, Lambach acknowledges the 'pluralism of contemporary IR' with both explicit and implicit references to many different theoretical perspectives and substantive fields.”

Award for Distinguished Excellence in Teaching International Studies – Laura Mills (St Andrews)

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 Laura Mills.

The judges said of Laura:

"Laura’s module focuses on the everyday life of global politics, and encourages students to see how their lives fit into IR. Her module demonstrates an impressive amount of creativity in its forms of assessments, and in how she encourages her students to engage with the module. The module’s encouragement of having students take the mundane seriously while then producing their own notebooks, practicum assignments that encourage students to work through their own methodology, and a curated exhibition offers a masterclass in teaching creativity and innovation. However, more than simply rewarding creativity, what really makes this module stand out is how the non-traditional forms of assessment closely align with the course content. Never has the mundane been so exciting."

Award for Early Career Excellence in Teaching International Studies – Joint winners: Zoë Jay (EuroStorie) and Roxani Krystalli (St Andrews)

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 of Zoë:

“Zoë's module is an inspiring example of collaborative learning. In her module, Dr Jay invites her students to help shape what they learn. This does not mean that students get a free reign, but it does mean that there is flexibility in the lecture topics, learning outcomes, and class expectations, all of which the students are able to help shape. Doing so offers students a meaningful opportunity to take responsibility for their own learning and to really think about what it is that they want to gain out of the course. Giving students these opportunities is a wonderful approach to teaching that encourages students engagement, participation, and ownership in their education, and in a way that is so much more powerful than simply having our students complete pre-determined assignments. Dr Jay shows us the benefits in trusting our students.”

Of Roxani they said:

“Roxani’s module, “The Politics of Nature and Place” offers an imaginative way to encourage students to address “the political.” What is politics? Where does it happen? How do we experience it? In her module students are given the opportunity to explore these questions in a phenomenological way, by exploring their own senses, and their own encounters in places that seem far removed from where politics (ostensibly) happens. Dr Krystalli invites us to find the sublime in our teaching by seeking out unusual places to explore the themes of our subject, and to encourage our students to do the same. Her module is courageous in that it challenges us all to rethink what, exactly, it is that we teach, and how our students experience their learning.”

Award for Postgraduate Excellence in Teaching International Studies – Marie Robin (Panthéon-Assas université)

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:

“Marie Robin’s course, “Talking to Win. Communication, Propaganda, and Disinformation in conflict settings" provides students with the opportunity to explore the power of words, and the importance of knowledge acquisition. These are complex methodological issues, and methodology-focused courses can be incredibly challenging to do well. However, Marie’s course, with its use of case studies and practical exercises, as well as a diversity of teaching materials demonstrates that even a methodology-related course can be fun, and can inspire students to engage. Hers is not a methodology module, but it does demonstrate how to incorporate major methodological issues into our teaching in ways that engage our students.”

Winner videos

Photo by Yiran Yang on Unsplash