CESS Book Award

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2017 Book Award Winner
Announcement of the 2017 Book Award Shortlist

Call for submissions for the 2017 Book Award Competition
2016 Book Award Winner
Past Recipients of the CESS Book Award

2017 Book Award Winner

2017 Best Book Award winner Joo-Yup Lee receiving his award from Dr David Montgomery, member of the Awards CommitteeWe are delighted to announce that the winner of the CESS 2017 Book Award is Joo-Yup Lee for his 2016 book Qazaqlïq, or Ambitious Brigandage, and the Formation of the Qazaqs: State and Identity in Post-Mongol Central Eurasia

The Best Book Award Committee commented on their choice as follows: 

This is the first book to comprehensively cover the emergence of Kazakh identities within the broader cultural and political context of Central Eurasia. It avoids the pitfall of projecting national identity back in time, and shows what early Kazakhs thought made them distinct from other groups. He brings places such as Ukraine through the Cossack Hetmanate into a much larger Central Eurasian world by focusing on a Central Eurasian institution (qazaqliq). Lee’s book is concise, very clearly written, engaging, and easy to read, even though it tackles a vast geographical area, a number of ethnic groups, and a premodern time period with which many people are not familiar. The work is incredibly impressive in terms of the breadth of research and the multilingual nature of the sources, both primary and secondary. It is a true exemplar of Central Eurasian studies, tracing a Central Asian institution (ambitious brigandage) as far west as Ukraine (the Cossack Hetmanate). It is also provocative - and Lee is clear about where his arguments and interpretations are building on or conflicting with the interpretations of other scholars, which makes it a welcome addition to the field.

Announcement of the 2017 Book Award Shortlist

The shortlist for the CESS book award is announced.  The 2017 award will be awarded to a book in history and humanities published in 2015 or 2016. 

The short-listed books are:

Brophy, David. 2016. Uyghur Nation: Reform and Revolution on the Russia-China Frontier. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Epkenhans, Tim. 2016. The Origins of the Civil War in Tajikistan: Nationalism, Islamism, and Violent Conflict in Post-Soviet Space. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Gould, Rebecca. 2016. Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Jacobson-Tepfer, Esther. 2015. The Hunter, the Stag, and the Mother of Animals: Image, Monument, and Landscape in Ancient North Asia. New York: Oxford University Press.

Kassymbekova, Botakoz. 2016. Despite Cultures: Early Soviet Rule in Tajikistan. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Khalid, Adeeb. 2015. Making Uzbekistan: Nation, Empire, and Revolution in the Early USSR. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Lee, Joo-Yup. 2016. Qazaqlïq, or Ambitious Brigandage, and the Formation of the Qazaqs: State and Identity in Post-Mongol Central Eurasia. Leiden: Brill.

Nunan, Timothy. 2016. Humanitarian Invasion: Global Development in Cold War Afghanistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Scott, Erik R. 2016. Familiar Strangers: The Georgian Diaspora and the Evolution of Soviet Empire. New York: Oxford University Press.

The book award panel is comprised of Jesse Driscoll, Maya Peterson, and Wendell Schwab, with David Montgomery acting as the non-voting chair. 

The winner of the award will be announced at the CESS Annual Conference, October 5-8, 2017, at the University of Washington in Seattle

Call for submissions for the 2017 Book Award Competition

The deadline for submissions closed on May 22, 2017. This call is retained here for reference only.

In 2007, CESS established two CESS Book Awards, one for work in the History & Humanities and another for work in the Social Sciences.  This year the award will be made to a book in History & Humanities.

Each year the CESS Book Award and a monetary prize of $500 is presented to the author of the research monograph, published in the preceding two years, that represents the most important contribution to Central Eurasian studies, or that holds the greatest potential for furthering scholarship on the Central Eurasian region.  An interdisciplinary panel of three scholars of Central Eurasia, appointed annually by the CESS Board, consider scholarly merit, argumentative scope, and felicity of style in their deliberations.

In 2017, books in History & Humanities with a publication date of 2015 or 2016 may be considered for the competition.

The panel will consist of Jesse Driscoll (University of California, San Diego), Maya Peterson (University of California, Santa Cruz), and Wendell Schwab (Pennsylvania State University), with David Montgomery (CEDAR—Communities Engaging with Difference and Religion) as non-voting chair. The shortlist will be announced in July and the winner will be announced at the 18th CESS Annual Conference at the University of Washington, Seattle on October 5-8, 2017.

Rules and procedures for the competition are as follows:

  1. Books must be scholarly monographs in disciplines of History or the Humanities based on original research and published in English during 2015 or 2016 (as measured by the printed copyright date; exceptions for books available by the submission deadline may be allowed at the discretion of the Chair).
  2. Books may be submitted for one competition only, and no book may be considered more than once.
  3. Scholarly monographs translated into English from other languages are eligible for consideration.
  4. Edited volumes, new editions of previously published books, bibliographies, dictionaries and textbooks are not eligible.
  5. Nominations may be made by either the publisher, author, or a CESS member.
  6. The winning author will receive the monetary prize and a certificate of award at an awards ceremony held at the annual CESS conference.

For the 2017 CESS History and Humanities Book Award competition, please ensure that four copies of the nominated book reach the CESS Book Award Committee. The deadline for 2017 submissions closed on May 22, 2017. This information is retained here for reference.

CESS 2016 Book Award Winner

CESS is delighted to announce that the winner of the 2016 Book Award for the best book in the social sciences published in 2014 or 2015 is Jesse Driscoll for his book Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States. Selected comments from the panel members about Driscoll's book:

"This book is valuable not only for its central argument about warlords as state-builders, but for its extremely detailed account of how warlords and supporters operate: their beliefs, motivations, strategies, and methods, both current and historical."

"Driscoll develops a game theoretic model that seeks to explain why actors behave the way they do. In this way, the book makes an enduring contribution to theory... He takes this a step further and embarks on ethnographic work that allows him to discuss causal mechanisms in a way that is extremely sensitive to the region..."

"It is a book that will endure through the years, making a foundational contribution to our understanding of why civil conflicts end... This book reflects outstanding scholarship."

Many congratulations to Jesse! Our thanks also go to the other shortlisted candidates. 

Past Recipients of the Book Award

History and Humanities

2015 – Rian ThumThe Sacred Routes of Uyghur History. Harvard University Press, 2014.

2013 – Patricia Crone. The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran: Rural Revolt and Local ZoroastrianismCambridge University Press, 2012.

2011 – Paul StronskiTashkent: Forging a Soviet City, 1930-1966University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010.

2009 – Jeff SahadeoRussian Colonial Society in Tashkent, 1865-1923Indiana University Press, 2007.

2007 – Marianne Kamp. The New Woman in Uzbekistan: Islam, Modernity, and Unveiling under CommunismUniversity of Washington Press, 2006.

Social Sciences

2016 Jesse DriscollWarlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

2014 – Morgan LiuUnder Solomon's Throne: Uzbek Visions of Renewal in OshUniversity of Pittsburgh Press, 2012.

2012 – Johan RasanayagamIslam in Post-Soviet Uzbekistan: The Morality of Experience. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

2010 – Laura AdamsThe Spectacular State: Culture and National Identity in UzbekistanDuke University Press, 2010.
2008 – Kathleen CollinsClan Politics and Regime Transition in Central Asia. Cambridge University Press, 2006.