Iver B. Neumann, incoming Director of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, has been awarded this year’s Guicciardini prize for best book in historical international relations.
Neumann receives the prize for his book The Steppe Tradition in International Relations: Russians, Turks and European State Building 4000 BCE–2017 CE, co-authored with Einar Wigen and published by Cambridge University Press in 2018.
The award ceremony will take place during the International Studies Association (ISA) convention in March 2020, in Honolulu, Hawai.
‘I am of course flattered and happy that the ten years it took to write the book were not a total waste’, Neumann says, ‘but the best thing is that this will result in a paperback run and a symposium on the book in Cambridge Review of International Relations. We write to be read and discussed’, Neumann adds.
The book The Steppe Tradition in International Relations counters ‘Euro-centrism’ in the study of international relations. Drawing on a wide range of archaeological and historical sources, alongside social theory, Neumann and Wigen discuss the history and effects of what they label the 'steppe tradition', providing a full account of the political organisation in the Eurasian steppe from the fourth millennium BCE up until today. The legacies of this tradition - its ideas of political leadership, legitimacy and concepts of succession politics – can help us better understand the politics and behaviour of leaders such as Putin in Russia and Erdogan in Turkey, the authors argue.
Even today, if looked closely, we can see traces of the two-millennia-old steppe tradition behind the façade of the modern states system', says professor and historian Pekka Hämäläinen in a review of the book.
Annual book award
The Francesco Guicciardini Prize is given annualy and recognizes the best book copyrighted in the previous year on subjects related to historical international relations. Past recipients include historian Or Rosenboim of the University of London, professors of international relations Tarak Barkawi, Barry Buzan and George Lawson of the London School of Economics, and lecturer in politics Lisa Stampnitzky of the University of Sheffield.