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 V. Forkosch Prize for the best article published in 2021 is Joseph Streeter for "Conceptions of Tolerance in Antiquity and Late Antiquity" (volume 82, no. 3, pp. 357–76).

The judging committee provides this statement about the article:
The Selma V. Forkosch Prize committee has unanimously agreed to award the prize for the best essay published in the Journal of the History of Ideas in 2021 to Joseph Streeter for his article “Conceptions of Tolerance in Antiquity and Late Antiquity.” In this learned and lucidly argued study, the author, arguing convincingly against a large body of opinion that traces the origins of modern theories of “religious toleration” to Antiquity, brilliantly distinguishes ancient conceptions of “tolerance” from modern theories such as John Locke’s. With a critical awareness of the cultural difference separating early Christians like Tertullian and Lactanius from early modern advocates of toleration such as Voltaire and Pierre Bayle, the essay presents a philologically informed, coherent, and persuasive analysis of the divers senses of “tolerance” in Antiquity viewed in the context of the values, meanings, and practices shaped by ancient conceptions of “honor,” “anger,” “patience,” and “religion.” In capturing the meaning and significance of the concept of “tolerance” in Antiquity, this closely argued examination of its ancient contexts not only illustrates its differences from present beliefs, but also reveals what is distinctive about modern ideas of “toleration.”

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


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 for a shipping address and additional information. 

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