The Social Science Research Council has named Benedict Anderson the recipient of the 2011 Albert O. Hirschman Prize. Anderson is the Aaron L. Binenkorb Professor Emeritus of International Studies at Cornell University. The Albert O. Hirschman Prize recognizes academic excellence in international, interdisciplinary social science research, theory, and public communication, in the tradition of German-born American economist Albert Hirschman.

Benedict Anderson was the unanimous choice of a selection committee made up of three current SSRC Board members: Barbara Stallings, William R. Rhodes Research Professor at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University; Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, Harvard University; and Margaret Levi, Jere L. Bacharach Professor of International Studies, University of Washington.

The committee noted that in the three decades since the publication of Anderson’s seminal work, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, “the importance of nationalism has not diminished. The break-up of the old Soviet empire saw wars in the Balkans that were justified with appeals to ancient nationalist tales. The interplay between nationalism and religion in the Middle East continues to shape history. Anderson’s analysis remains a superb starting point for understanding these events…. He is a great scholar, and we are pleased to honor him with the Hirschman Award.”

SSRC president Craig Calhoun added that “Benedict Anderson’s work shows the broad interdisciplinary scope and public engagement—as well as the intellectual brilliance—that Albert Hirschman exemplified and the SSRC treasures. It is also clear evidence of the way in which thinking deeply rooted in area studies can have an enormous theoretical impact across a range of disciplines.”

Anderson delivered the Albert O. Hirschman Prize Lecture at the 40th International Institute for Sociology World Congress in New Delhi, India, on February 17, 2012. At the following ceremony, he received an award of US$10,000.