Robert Adcock, Winner of the 2015 C&M Award for Concept Analysis in Political Science

Robert Adcock, Winner of the 2015 C&M Award for Concept Analysis in Political Science

Posted by: Mrs. Sarah Veilleux-Poulin

Publication date: Thu, 28 May 2015

The International Political Science Association’s Committee on Concepts & Methods (C&M) is pleased to announce the winner of its 2015 Award for Concept Analysis in Political Science. This award is presented every three years for the best work in concept analysis, broadly defined. The award committee for the 2015 competition was composed of three distinguished scholars: Dan Slater, University of Chicago (Committee Chair); Roman David, Lingnan University; and Ingo Rohlfing, University of Bremen.

The winner of the 2015 award is Robert Adcock, for his Liberalism and the Emergence of American Political Science: A Transatlantic Tale (Oxford University Press, 2014). Mr. Adcock will join the School of International Studies at American University in the fall of 2015.

In this work of remarkable historical sweep and theoretical heft, Adcock charts the birth of American political science from its largely unexplored European intellectual parentage. In so doing, Adcock traces the fascinating transatlantic travels and diverse historical expressions of one of political science’s most vital concepts: liberalism. Unlike scholars who portray liberalism as a relatively monolithic ideology infusing American political thought, Adcock meticulously chronicles the diverse and competing streams of liberalism that evolved and migrated across the Atlantic in response to the twin challenges of mass democracy and industrial capitalism. From common roots in the “democratized classical liberalism” of intellectual giants such as Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill, as well as less-famed continental thinkers like Francois Guizot and Francis Lieber, there emerged both the “progressive liberalism” of scholars such as Woodrow Wilson at Princeton and the "disenchanted classical liberalism” best characterized by William Graham Sumner at Yale. Stunning in both its range of historical source materials as well as its subtlety of theoretical engagement, Adcock’s book contributes mightily not only to the international history of our discipline, but to intellectual history in general.