The Journal of the History of Ideas awards the Selma V. Forkosch Prize ($750) for the best article published in the journal each year.

The winner of the JHI's Selma VForkosch Prize for the best article published in 2022 is Dan Edelstein for “A ‘Revolution’ in Political Thought: Translations of Polybius Book 6 and the Conceptual History of Revolution” (volume 83, no. 1, pp. 17–40).

The judging committee provides this statement about the article:
This paper excels in historical erudition, philological rigor, and conceptual clarity. It traces the history of the concept of revolution as a political category down to ancient times, to Polybius’s Book 6 and Aristotle’s notion of anacyclosis where it already stood for political change. In Aristotle, the political dimension of the concept was still related to the ideas of revolt and sedition, and not yet conceived as indicating a world-historical event. Likewise, all of the elements of the modern concept of revolution were already in Polybius and his many commentors, although with the implication that revolution had to be avoided and mixed government was the way to keep this danger at bay.  It was the re-interpretation of Polybius’s ideas that, for Edelstein, paved the way to incorporate a new temporal dimension to it and eventually conceive of revolutions as the means of solving political problems and improving the future. Revolution is thus transformed from a disturbance of social life into the solution to the ills of modern politics. This article helps us rethink Koselleck’s theory of the temporalization of concepts between ca. 1750 and ca. 1850. Overall, this is an article that straddles the history of scholarship and political theory in a grand way one does not often see.

For a list of the Selma V. Forkosch prize winners click here.

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The Journal of the History of Ideas awards the Morris D. Forkosch Prize ($2,500) for the best book in intellectual history each year.

The winner of the JHI’s Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the best first book in intellectual history (2021) is Ross Carroll, for Uncivil Mirth: Ridicule in Enlightenment Britain, published by Princeton University Press.

The judging committee provides the following statement: 

In his compelling and cogent Uncivil Mirth: Ridicule in Enlightenment Britain, Ross Carroll provides a striking historical analysis of debates over the political power and moral force of humor. Across a range of source materials, with insightful close readings balanced by sensitive contextualization, Carroll's history draws out the potentialities attributed to ridicule. Carroll points to a framework for understanding the historical affordances of ridicule that remains resonant in the present day, contrasting Hobbesian reproofs with the measured embrace associated with Shaftesbury. His analysis and framework is refined not only through analytical readings of Hobbes, Shaftesbury, and later British, and particularly Scottish, writers, including Hume, Adam Smith, and the Aberdeen philosophers George Campbell, Thomas Reid, James Oswald, and James Beattie. It extends to Scottish abolitionist ridicule of slaveowners, inspired by Montesquieu, together with admonitions against the use of ridicule by slaves and those freed. In its final historical chapter, Uncivil Mirth carries this analysis through eighteenth-century education and conduct manuals to the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft and her proposal that girls be taught to ridicule writings predicated on a vision of women as subordinate. By repeatedly correcting scholarly misreadings and simplifications of the place of ridicule in political and moral thought, Carroll not only succeeds in offering novel and insightful readings of canonical texts, he also points to the need to rethink the place of ridicule in and beyond the political thought of Enlightenment Britain.

 

Eligible submissions are limited to the first book published by a single author, and to books published in English. The subject matter of submissions must pertain to one or more of the disciplines associated with intellectual history and the history of ideas broadly conceived: viz., history (including the histories of the various arts and sciences); philosophy (including the philosophy of science, aesthetics, and other fields); political thought; the social sciences (including anthropology, economics, political science, and sociology); and literature (including literary criticism, history and theory). 

 

No translations or collections of essays will be considered. The judges will favor publications displaying sound scholarship, original conceptualization, and significant chronological and interdisciplinary scope. 

Submissions (three copies of each nominated book) are accepted directly from publishers or directly from authors. The deadline to submit books published in 2022 is March 1, 2023.  

If you wish to nominate a book, please contact the JHI's managing editor, Ida Stewart, at stewarti@sas.upenn.edu for a shipping address and additional information. 

For a list of the Morris D. Forkosch prize winners click here.