Marshall D. Shulman Book Prize

2017 Citation Recipient

Juliet Johnson

The Marshall D. Shulman Book Prize, established in 1987 and sponsored by the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, is awarded annually for an outstanding monograph dealing with the international relations, foreign policy, or foreign-policy decision-making of any of the states of the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe published in the previous calendar year. The prize is dedicated to the encouragement of high-quality studies of the international behavior of the countries of the former Communist Bloc.

Winner: Juliet Johnson
Title: Priests of Prosperity: How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World (Cornell University Press)

Why did states in the post-communist region converge around a remarkably similar model of central banking? Johnson’s outstanding book persuasively argues that the transformation of post-Communist central banking practices and organizational cultures was shaped by the interaction of nascent central banks and staffers with a highly institutionalized and influential transnational banking community. With great analytical precision, Johnson draws from an impressive array of sources, including lively quotes from bankers and politicians, to show that these “wormhole networks” disseminated uncontested ideas that privileged the importance of central bank independence and the maintenance of price stability above other potential regulatory roles. Johnson’s use of the comparative method, across diverse states ranging from Hungary to Kyrgyzstan, is exemplary, with similarities and differences analyzed across the stages of institutional development to show how these professional communities achieved a level of in uence over institution-building in the post-communist region unmatched in other policy sectors. By concluding with an analysis of the global nancial crisis, Johnson brings her argument about professional cultures and institutional isomorphism full circle, showing how a 1990s consensus rendered Central bankers vulnerable to nationalist and illiberal political backlashes. Priests of Prosperity explains great sweeps of international political economy and the development of the post-Communist region and is a must-read for scholars more broadly interested in transnationalism, comparative institutionalism, and socialization in politics.

Honorable Mention: Agnia Grigas
Title: Beyond Crimea: The New Russian Empire (Yale University Press)

This fluent and ambitious book examines Russia’s construction of “compatriots” as a group requiring protection both as drivers and pretexts for Russian foreign policy. Grigas’s timely study identifies diverse elements of the policy to defend compatriots, from granting passports and redefining citizenship, to use of the media and military intervention. By examining the interplay between the Russian-speaking diaspora, the structure of Russia’s economy and the current regime’s strategy to retain power, Beyond Crimea helps us better understand the dynamic nature of Russia’s foreign policy, while Grigas’s deep engagement with regional scholars adds valuable weight to this well-argued work.