Sociologist Charles Tilly Wins 2008 Hirschman Prize
Pioneered Research on Social Movements, Revolutions, and Modern States
Charles Tilly, the Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science at Columbia University, has received the Social Science Research Council's 2008 Albert O. Hirschman Prize. Tilly is the second researcher to take the prize, which was established a year ago and is awarded annually. Harvard economist Dani Rodrik won last year.
“Charles Tilly is one of the most distinguished of all contemporary social scientists,” said Craig Calhoun, president of the SSRC. “He is the most influential analyst of social movements and contentious politics, a pathbreaker in the historical sociology of the state, a pivotal theorist of social inequality. Among the most eminent of sociologists, he is also a leading voice in history and political science and has played a hugely important role in integrating these fields. His 1975 book, The Formation of National States in Western Europe, capped a major SSRC project on comparative politics. Since then, he has gone on to be the leading voice in the historical social science that project helped to create.”
Tilly was the choice of a selection committee chaired by Albert Fishlow, a former SSRC Board member and a professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University, where he also directs the Institute of Latin American Studies and the Center for the Study of Brazil. Serving along with Fishlow were Peter Gourevitch, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, and Doug McAdam, a professor of sociology at Stanford University.
“We selected Charles Tilly as the recipient of the 2008 Albert Hirschman Prize in honor of his extensive career spanning the social sciences,” said Fishlow. “Through extraordinary and numerous scholarly contributions, he has pioneered research into a whole array of fields fundamental to the process of economic development over centuries. Tilly, like Hirschman, is an exceptional scholar.”
“I am a long-time admirer of Albert Hirschman which makes this a great honor,” said Tilly upon learning of the committee’s decision.
In the world of academia, the news of Tilly's award has been greeted with interest and applause. Historian Sidney Tarrow of Cornell, Tilly's longtime collaborator, had this to say: "We all know about his distinguished work on state formation, urban sociology, social movements and contentious politics. But he has also pioneered the development and application of machine-readable analysis of historical texts, as well as insisting on the systematic study of the mechanisms of social change. In addition, both directly as a teacher and through his work, he has convinced generations of social scientists and historians that there is no basic contradiction between theoretically inspired and contextually enriched work."
Katznelson of Columbia, who has been Tilly's colleague there and at the New
School for Social Research, observed: "Never have I had the privilege of
working with a scholar who has made more fundamental contributions to so many
basic subjects and fields. Chuck Tilly is an intellectual giant, whose
brilliant work across disciplines--on states, cities, movements, rights,
citizenship, rebellion, resistance, inequality,
violence and more--has inspired social scientists and historians to ask better questions, deepen their historical understanding, and bring analytical efforts to bear on normative questions of great significance."
Peter Katzenstein of Cornell echoed others in praising Tilly for the feat of building "enduring connections between history and the social sciences." He went on: "Spanning diverse fields and theoretical orientations, his research was always bold, innovative and focused on crucial questions. This is a well-deserved distinction of a lifetime of exceptional scholarship."
Tilly will deliver the annual Albert O. Hirschman Prize Lecture at a ceremony in New York City. He will also receive an award of US$10,000.
About the Hirschman Prize
The Hirschman Prize is awarded annually to scholars who have made outstanding contributions to international, interdisciplinary social science research, theory, and public communication, in the tradition of German-born American economist Albert O. Hirschman. A professor at Columbia, Yale, Harvard and for many years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Hirschman pioneered the field of economics and politics in developing countries, particularly Latin American development. Author of such classic works as The Strategy of Economic Development; Exit, Voice, and Loyalty; and The Passions and the Interests, Hirschman has long been acclaimed for his creative, interdisciplinary approach to academic research.
Nominating letters should be sent to Craig Calhoun, President, Social Science Research Council, 810 7th Ave., 31st Floor, New York, NY 10019, or via e-mail to email@example.com. The deadline for nominations for the 2009 prize is 15 November 2008.