Since its inception, the IMM has offered three annual awards, described below with current and previous award winners listed for each prize. As of 2019, these are joined by the bi-annual Lee Ann Fujii Award for Innovation in the Interpretive Study of Political Violence.


Lee Ann Fujii Award for Innovation in the Interpretive Study of Political Violence

Sponsored by Routledge

The Lee Ann Fujii Award for Innovation in the Interpretive Study of Political Violence, funded by Routledge/Taylor & Francis, is to be given every other year to books, journal articles or book chapters, in recognition of the late Professor Fujii’s contributions to that area of inquiry. Dr. Fujii, who died unexpectedly in March 2018, was Associate Professor of political science at the University of Toronto. Her main field of study was comparative politics, as an Africanist specializing in genocide studies and (post-)conflict settings. Recently, she had expanded her research agenda to include the historical conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and the U.S. south.  In the course of her research, she developed a methodological expertise in interviewing, especially as articulated in her recently published Interviewing in Social Science Research: A Relational Approach (Routledge/T&F 2018), the fifth volume in the Routledge Series in Interpretive Methods.

The award honors her creative contributions to the study of political violence, including methods for doing such research. In her 2009 book Killing Neighbors: Webs of Violence in Rwanda (Cornell University Press), as well as in her posthumously forthcoming book Show Time: The Logic and Power of Violent Display and other writings, Dr. Fujii developed fresh ways to investigate, conceptualize, and explain political violence in places as diverse as Rwanda, Bosnia, and the United States.

Among her methodological contributions, three innovations stand out:

  • her relational approach to the production of lying and truth-telling in interviews (in “Shades of truth and lies: Interpreting testimonies of war and violence,” Journal of Peace Research 47 (2): 231–241, 2010, and in her 2018 Routledge book on relational interviewing);
  • the contributions of what she called “meta-data” in assessing the veracity of interview narratives (in “Five stories of accidental ethnography: Turning unplanned moments in the field into data,” Qualitative Research 15 (4): 525–539, 2015); and
  • her dramaturgical approach to analyzing political violence and its display (in “The puzzle of extra-lethal violence,” Perspectives on Politics 11 (2): 410-426, 2013, and the forthcoming book).

This award recognizes published works that most innovatively study political violence from an interpretive perspective, memorializing Dr. Fujii’s approach to political research and her overall contributions to interpretive research methods. In keeping with her own efforts both to expose more hidden and systemic types of harm (racial and gender discrimination, in particular) and to understand what drives people to kill, the nominated work may take any type of political violence, broadly construed, as its concern. The violence might be direct and physical; it might be entrenched and structural, inflicting various forms of harm based on race, gender, class, economic, and other inequalities; it might be cultural and symbolic, serving to justify, normalize or naturalize harm or injustice. This award understands political violence to include not only violence between states (the traditional understanding of war and its aftermath) and between factions within a state, such as in civil wars, but also the ongoing “wars” against terrorism, possibly also against drug abuse, and also, significantly, domestic and sexual violence. Research on inter-state and civil wars has shown how such violence can be, and often is, intertwined with sexual violence. The use of rape to terrorize a population, for example, was particularly strong in the Yugoslavian wars, one of Professor Fujii’s areas of research. And then there is the sort of political violence committed by the guards at Abu Ghraib, a topic other political scientists have taken up.

The award recognizes works that not only report on findings, but which engage the methodological entailments and/or methods challenges of studies of political violence, broadly construed. Consideration will be given to interviewing, as in Dr. Fujii’s research, but also to other methods. The award committee will consider not only books and journal articles, but also chapter-length publications. In addition to considering chapters from edited books, eligibility will also extend to chapters from monographs that do not focus on political violence as a whole, but which include an outstanding and innovative methodological chapter (including, e.g., methodological appendices) that could lend itself to the study of violence.

The 2019 award goes to

Jana Krause (University of Amsterdam), for her book

Resilient Communities: Non-Violence and Civilian Agency in Communal War (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Citation is here.

Award Committee 

* Kristen Monroe, Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Political Science,
University of California, Irvine; Chair
* Mary Hawkesworth, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University
* Timothy Longman, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations; Director, CURA: Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs;
Boston University

The Charles Taylor Book Award

The Charles Taylor Book Award recognizes the best book in political science that employs or develops interpretive methodologies and methods.

This award is named in recognition of the contributions of Charles Taylor to the advancement of interpretive thinking in the political and social sciences. In his 1971 essay “Interpretation and the Sciences of Man,” Taylor powerfully critiqued the aspiration to model the study of politics on the natural sciences, and he cogently explained how “interpretation is essential to explanation” in the human sciences. This essay, along with Taylor’s “Philosophical Papers” and many other articles, book chapters, and volumes, have long been a source of inspiration for scholars seeking to develop and apply an interpretive approach to the study of politics.

The award will be given to a book exploring any aspect of political life that either engages interpretive methodological issues or that reports the results of empirical research conducted using interpretive research methods. We will consider books of two types. The book can engage these ideas philosophically, in keeping with much of Professor Taylor’s work and the sense of ‘methodology’ as an expression and/or application of philosophical concerns, such as with ontological and epistemological issues. The book can also present empirical research, as long as it explicitly considers the methodological issues and concerns that arose in the conduct of the research. The book can be either a single- or multi-authored book or an edited volume.

Eligibility: 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). Books published in a two calendar year period prior to the year of the APSA meeting at which the award is presented are eligible; the book’s copyright date will be treated as the year of publication (that is, books copyrighted in 2012 and 2013 would be eligible for consideration for the award to be presented at the 2014 meeting). The award committee will, however, be under no obligation to make an award in a year in which submissions do not merit such recognition.

Details: For the call for nominations for the current year’s award, please see this year’s announcement.

This year’s award goes to 

Matthew Longo (Leiden University), for

The Politics of Borders: Sovereignty, Security, and the Citizen after 9/11  (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Honorable mentions:
Lee Ann Fujii (late of University of Toronto), for
Interviewing in Social Science Research: A Relational Approach  (Routledge, 2018)
Timothy Pachirat (University of Massachusetts at Amherst), for
Among Wolves: Ethnography and the Immersive Study of Power  (Routledge, 2018).

Award committee
Andrew Dilts, Loyola Marymount University
Bernardo Zacka, MIT
Cai Wilkinson, Deakin University, Chair

See citations.


Previous recipients of the Charles Taylor Book Award

2018: Bernardo Zacka (MIT), for When the State Meets the Street: Public Service and Moral Agency (Harvard University Press, 2017). See citation and photo.

Honorable mentions:
Shiri Pasternak (Trent University) for Grounded Authority: The Algonquins of Barriere Lake Against the State (University of Minnesota Press, 2017)
Stefanie Fishel (University of Alabama) for The Microbial State: Global Thriving and the Global State (University of Minnesota Press, 2017).
See citations.

2017: Sarah Wiebe, University of Hawaii, for Everyday Exposure: Indigenous Mobilization and Environmental Justice in Canada’s Chemical Valley (Vancouver and Toronto: UBC Press, 2016).  The award citation is here, plus a photo.

2016: Daniel Kato, Queen Mary University of London, Liberalizing Lynching: Building a New Racialized State (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015). Citation is here.

2015: Davina Cooper, University of Kent, for Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces (Duke University Press, 2014).  The citation is here, plus a photo.

2014: Paul Amar, UC-Santa Barbara, for The Security Archipelago: Human-Security States, Sexuality Politics, and the End of Neoliberalism (Duke University Press, 2013).  Here is the citation.

2013: Sharon Sliwinski, University of Western Ontario, for Human Rights in Camera (University of Chicago Press, 2011). The citation is here.

2012:  No books considered.

2011:  No award presented.

2010:  Michael Loriaux, Northwestern University, for European Union and the Deconstruction of the Rhineland Frontier (Cambridge University Press, 2008). The citation is here.


The Hayward 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 the call for nominations for the current year’s award, please see this year’s announcement.

This year’s award goes to

Zainab Alam (Ph.D. candidate, Rutgers University, New Brunswick) for her paper
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.

Award Committee
Sarah Marusek (University of Hawai’i; Chair)
Martha Balaguera Cuervo (University of Toronto)
Alexandra Budabin (Dayton University)

Citation is here.

Previous recipients of the Hayward Alker Best Student Paper Award

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. The award citation is here, plus a photo.

2016: Kevin Funk (now Department of Political Science, University of the District of Columbia), for “Capitalists of the World, Unite?”
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. Here are the citations and a photo from the ceremony.

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. The citation is here.

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

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.” The citation is here.

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. The citation is here.

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

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.” The citation is here.


The Grain of Sand Award

The Grain of Sand Award honors a political scientist whose contributions to interpretive studies of the political, and, indeed, to the discipline itself, its ideas, and its persons, have been longstanding and merit special recognition.

Drawing combined inspiration from the opening lines of William Blake’s “Auguries of Innocence” and Wis»awa Szymborska’s “View with a Grain of Sand” (excerpted below), the Grain of Sand Award honors a scholar whose contributions demonstrate creative and sustained engagement with questions of enduring political importance from an interpretive perspective. Echoing Szymborska’s “We call it a grain of sand,” the award underscores the centrality of meaning making in both the constitution and study of the political; drawing on Blake’s “To see a world in a grain of sand,” the award honors the capacity of interpretive scholarship to embody and inspire imaginative theorizing, the intentional cultivation of new lines of sight through an expansion of literary and experiential resources, and the nourishing of a playfulness of mind so necessary to the vitality of social science.

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).

With the exception of the first two years, each year’s award committee will be determined at that meeting or shortly thereafter and will work together with the IMM CG’s outgoing program chair(s).  The award committee will, however, be under no obligation to make an award every year.

Nominations should include a copy of the nominee’s curriculum vitae and a minimum of two supporting letters summarizing the nominee’s contributions and explain the merit for this award. Please e-mail nomination materials (individually or as a unit) to the outgoing Program Committee chair no later than March 1 of each year.

Members of the award committee are the IMM Executive Committee, serving as a committee of the whole.

For information on contributing to the funding of this award, please contact Dvora Yanow (


View with a grain of sand
— Wislawa SzymborskaWe call it a grain of sand,
but it calls itself neither grain nor sand.
It does just fine without a name,
whether general, particular,
permanent, passing, incorrect, or apt.
Our glance, our touch mean nothing to it.
It doesn’t feel itself seen and touched.
And that it fell on the windowsill
is only our experience, not its.
The window has a wonderful view of a lake,
but the view doesn’t view itself.

The lake’s floor exits floorlessly,
and its shore exists shorelessly.
Its water feels itself neither wet nor dry
and its waves to themselves are neither singular or plural.
They splash deaf to their own noise
on pebbles neither large nor small.
And all this beneath a sky by nature skyless
in which the sun sets without setting at all
and hides without hiding behind an unminding cloud.

A second passes.
A second second.
A third.
But they’re three seconds only for us.
Time has passed like a courier with urgent news.
But that’s just our simile.
The character is invented, his haste is make-believe,
his news inhuman.
[transl. Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh]
Auguries of Innocence
— William BlakeTo see a world in a grain of sand,And a heaven in a wild flower,Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,And eternity in an hour….We are led to believe a lieWhen we see not thro’ the eye,…But does a human form displayTo those who dwell in realms of day.


No Grain of Sand award will be presented in 2019.

Previous recipients of the Grain of Sand Award

2018: Lee Ann Fujii [posthumously]

2017: Peregrine (Peri) Schwartz-Shea and Dvora Yanow. Here are the citation and a photo.

2016: Mary Hawkesworth, Rutgers University. Here are the citation and a couple of photos.

2015:  Award not given.

2014: Deborah A. Stone, Dartmouth College. The citation is here; her comments on receiving the award are here.

2013: James C. Scott, Yale University. Here is the citation.

2012: No award given.

2011: Anne Norton, University of Pennsylvania. The citation is here.

2010: Bud Duvall, University of Minnesota. The citation is here.

2009: Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, University of Chicago. The citation and their replies, published in PS: Political Science and Politics, are here.