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.


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 (2022) is  Nathan Vedal for The Culture of Language in Ming China: Sound, Script, and the Redefinition of Boundaries of Knowledge (Columbia University Press, 2022).

The judging committee provides the following statement: 

This year’s winner of the Morris D. Forkosch Book Prize is Nathan Vedal for his book The Culture of Language in Ming China: Sound, Script, and the Redefinition of Boundaries of Knowledge, published in 2022 by Columbia University Press. Recent years have witnessed a close reexamination of the early modern history of Chinese philology, to which Vedal’s volume makes an extraordinary contribution. Based on sources, primary and secondary, in a plethora of languages, Vedal draws attention to the distinctive work of Chinese scholars in the latter part of the Ming dynasty, drawing on work in the fields of the history of science, comparative linguistics, music, cosmology, and more. While studies of the Chinese language have blossomed in recent years, Vedal’s work stands out for its great breadth and depth, attending to a multitude of better- and lesser-known scholars, and the unexpected connections at play in their theories of language.


Honorable mention for the 2022 prize: Mackenzie Cooley, The Perfection of Nature: Animals, Breeding, and Race in the Renaissance (University of Chicago Press).


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 2023 is March 1, 2024.  

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.