Davis Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies

2008 Citation Recipient

Phillip G. Roeder

The Davis Center Book Prize in Political and Social Studies, established in 2008 and sponsored by the Kathryn W. and Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, is awarded annually for an outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eurasia, or Eastern Europe in anthropology, political science, sociology, or geography in the previous calendar year.

Winner: Phillip G. Roeder
Title: Where Nation-States Come From: Institutional Change in the Age of Nationalism (Princeton University Press)

A political scientist, Roeder’s ambitious study asks why there are less than 200 nation-states in the world today, even though there have been more than 800 active nation-state projects. Drawing on the Soviet and post-Soviet experience, Roeder’s political institutional explanation is straightforward, original and convincingly argued on the basis of extensive historical analysis. This is comparative, multi-method research at its best, and a significant contribution to theories of the nation-state and conflicts over nation-states in the Soviet and post-Soviet world.

Honorable Mention: Zsuzsa Gille
Title: From the Cult of Waste to the Trash Heap of History (Indiana University Press)

A sociologist, Gille employs “thick description” to explain changing rationalizations, ideologies, and unintended consequences of industrial waste under state socialism and capitalism in Hungary. The book provides an original analysis and compelling case study, which poses intriguing questions about social conceptions of industrial practice and economic value.

Honorable Mention: Catherine Wanner
Title: Communities of the Converted: Ukrainians and Global Evangelism (Cornell University Press)

An anthropologist, Wanner provides an expertly crafted and elegantly written study of the resurgence of evangelical Protestantism in Ukraine. Based on exemplary multi-sited ethnographic research in both the US and Ukraine, the book combines thoughtful and thorough historical contextualization with extended forays into the evangelical worlds and shows the processes through which international movements were able to establish a presence in disenfranchised communities as well as what they contributed to those communities.