Awards - APSA-IPSA Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award

Theodore J LowiThe Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award has been established to honor Lowi’s distinctive contributions to the study of politics. Throughout a prolific and influential career, Lowi developed new understandings of the relationship of public policy to politics, the influence of institutional arrangements to the exercise of power, the role of ideology in the development of political parties, the relationship of democracy to law, the relevance of concept analysis for theory building, and more.

The Lowi Award recognizes the author of a first book in any field of political science that exemplifies qualities of broad ambition, high originality, and intellectual daring, showing promise of having a substantive impact on the overall discipline, regardless of method, specific focus of inquiry or approach to subject. The award carries a cash prize of $750.00 USD.

APSA and IPSA administer and fund the Lowi Award in alternating years. The 2024 Lowi Award will be awarded at the 2024 APSA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, USA. The 2025 award will be awarded at the 28th IPSA World Congress of Political Science in July 2025 in Seoul, South Korea.

Nomination Procedures

Nominations should be submitted at

Nomination Deadline : TBA

Books must have been published in the previous calendar year to be eligible for the current awards cycle (books for the 2023 award must have been published in 2022). Many books contain both a publication date and a copyright date, and these may differ. Eligibility is determined by the earlier of these dates that is printed with the publication information at the front of the book.

Books should be single-author works to be eligible for the Lowi Award. For a book to be eligible for the Lowi Award, it must be the first book ever published by the author. If the book is the author’s first book about political science, but not the first book every published, it is not eligible.

Nominators are responsible for shipping or sending books to the award committee after submitting a nomination.

Visit for more information and to submit the nomination. For questions about the Lowi Award, please contact

APSA-IPSA Theodore J. Lowi First Book Award Recipients


2023 Fiona Feiang Shen-Bayh

Fiona Shen-Bayh is an incoming Assistant Professor of Government & Politics with a joint appointment at the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. She was previously an Assistant Professor of Government at William & Mary.

She studies the legal and judicial instruments of power in authoritarian regimes. Her first book "Undue Process: Persecution and Punishment in Autocratic Courts" (Cambridge University Press, 2022) examines how and why autocrats weaponize the judiciary to stay in control. In other works, she examines the challenges of promoting access to equitable justice and the legacies of autocratic rule. As co-founder and co-director of the Digital Inclusion and Governance Lab, she draws on a variety of digital tools and data to analyze the political economy of development in the Global South.

Her research has been published in the American Political Science Review, World Politics, Cambridge University Press, and Oxford University Press. She has also received research support from the National Science Foundation, the Institute of International Studies, and the Global Research Institute. She earned her PhD and MA in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and her BA in Economics from Vassar College. She was also a Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan and a research affiliate of the Centre on Law and Social Transformations at the University of Bergen.

2022 Christian Dyogi Phillips

Christian Dyogi Phillips is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Southern California. Her research uses intersectional frameworks to understand how overlapping dimensions of identity inform democratic incorporation. Dr. Phillips examines how individuals and groups - from everyday voters, to people thinking about running for office, to elected incumbents - make decisions, lead, and effect change. Her work is particularly attentive to the ways that political contexts and institutions shape those processes. In addition to her extensive work on descriptive representation and electoral politics, Dr. Phillips’ scholarship also includes studies of the substantive representation of immigrant subgroups in state legislatures, and Asian American and Latin political attitudes and participation. Her newest project is a multi-method study of how Americans’ lives as workers inform their politics.Prior to becoming an academic, Dr. Phillips led organizing and political campaigns in the American labor movement. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from UC Berkeley, M.P.A. from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and B.A. from Hampshire College. 

Her first book, Nowhere to Run: Race, Gender and Immigration in American Elections (Oxford University Press, 2021), introduces the intersectional model of electoral opportunity, which argues that descriptive representation in elections is shaped by intersecting processes related to race and gender. Across states, realistic opportunities for potential candidates of color to get on state legislative ballots are sharply circumscribed by the distribution of white majority populations in most districts; and within the districts that are most widely viewed as winnable seats--majority minority districts--the perceived scarcity of viable electoral opportunities exacerbates factors that tend to push women of color farther from the candidate pipeline. 

2021 Simukai Chigudu

Simukai Chigudu is Associate Professor of African Politics at the Oxford Department of International Development and Fellow of St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He is interested in the politics of health in Africa and the global politics of racism and decolonization. He has conducted research in Zimbabwe, Uganda, The Gambia, and Tanzania, and has publications in several leading social science and medical journals. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford for which he won the Audrey Richards Prize, a biennial award from the African Studies Association for the best Ph.D. thesis on Africa examined at a UK university. Before coming into academia, he worked as a medical doctor.

His first book, The Political Life of an Epidemic: Cholera, Crisis and Citizenship in Zimbabwe (Cambridge University Press, 2020), examines the social and political causes and consequences of Zimbabwe’s catastrophic cholera outbreak in 2008/09, the worst in African history. The book is a devastating account of an epidemic and a meditation on the political economy of state transformation in Africa, the shortcomings of international humanitarian aid, and the struggles for substantive citizenship in Zimbabwe.

2020 Rachel Augustine Potter

Rachel Augustine Potter is an Assistant Professor of Politics.  Her research interests include American political institutions, regulation, public policy, public administration, and the influence of separation of powers on bureaucratic decision-making.

Her first book, Bending the Rules: Procedural Politicking in the Bureaucracy (University of Chicago Press 2019), explores how unelected bureaucrats leverage procedures in order to exercise influence in the policymaking process of the Congress, the president and the courts. She represents a very innovative argument about bureaucratic discretion. The empirical findings of this book draw from multiple methodologies and accumulated cross-field research. The book illuminates in an excellent way our understanding of how government policy decisions are made by public agencies.

2019 Stephanie J. Rickard
Stephanie J. Rickard is a Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics in the Department of Government. She earned her PhD at the University of California, San Diego and her BA at the University of Rochester. Her research examines the effects of political institutions on economic policies and appears in journals such as International OrganizationThe Journal of PoliticsBritish Journal of Political Science, and Comparative Political Studies.

In her book, Spending to Win: Political Institutions, Economic Geography, and Government Subsidies, published by Cambridge University Press, Stephanie investigates why governments selectively target economic benefits, like subsidies, to businesses. Based on interviews with government ministers and bureaucrats, as well as parliamentary records, industry publications, local media coverage, and new quantitative data, Stephanie demonstrates that economic policy can be explained by the combination of electoral institutions and economic geography.

2018 Margaret Peters

Dr. Peters is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at UCLA.  Her research focuses broadly on international political economy with a special focus on the politics of migration.  Prior to coming to UCLA, she was an Assistant Professor in the Political Science department at Yale University and at the  University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2011. Her work has appeared in International Organization and World Politics, among others.

Dr. Peter’s book, Trading Barriers: Immigration and the Remaking of Globalization, examines the relationship between trade policy, outsourcing, and immigration policy, demonstrating the important and influential role played by international trade and capital movements in shaping public policies toward immigration. An exhaustively researched and original analysis, with broad international policy implications, that illuminates our understanding of the relationship between trade liberalization and immigration policies.

2017 Dara Kay Cohen

Dara Kay Cohen is an associate professor of public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests span the field of international relations, including international security, civil war and the dynamics of violence, and gender and conflict.

Her first book, Rape During Civil War (Cornell University Press, 2016), examines the variation in the use of rape during recent civil conflicts; the research for the book draws on extensive fieldwork in Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste and El Salvador. Her current project is focused on the intersection of political violence, public opinion and gender in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

2016 Jennifer C. Rubenstein

Jennifer C. Rubenstein is an associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia, specializing in political theory. Her interests include the political ethics of non-governmental organizations, humanitarianism, democratic theory (especially theories of non-electoral representation and advocacy that attend to global inequalities), emergencies, the politics of donating, and the role of imagination and experience in politics. She has published or forthcoming articles in the Journal of Politics, Journal of Political Philosophy, Journal of Social Philosophy, Journal of Social Philosophy and Policy, and the British Journal of Political Science.

The Award Committee was unanimous in its decision to award the Theodore J. Lowi  ‘First Book Award’ for 2016 to Dr. Rubenstein for her book Between Samaritans and States: The Political Ethics of Humanitarian INGOs, published by Oxford University Press, 2015.