Siddhant Issar receives the Leo Strauss Prize 2022 –

The Leo Strauss Prize is presented annually by the American Political Science Association (APSA) to honor the best doctoral dissertation in political philosophy.

Siddhant Issar is an assistant professor of political theory at the University of Louisville. Her research and teaching interests focus on modern and contemporary political theory, particularly Black, Indigenous, and anti-colonial thought, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the politics of race, class, and empire. In his research, Issar delves into the entanglement between capitalist political economy and racial/colonial domination, as well as the theoretical ideas that social movements generate against such interdependent domination. He is currently working on a book manuscript, titled Theorizing Racial Capitalism in an Age of Black Lives Matter. During the 2021-2022 academic year, Issar served as a Rising Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. He holds a doctorate. in political science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a master’s degree from the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Quote from the award committee:

Siddhant Isser’s “Thinking with Black Lives Matter: Towards a Critical Theory of Racial Capitalism” is a superb argument for moving beyond analyzes of contemporary oppression that only think through one critical lens (i.e. i.e. “anti-racist” or “anti-capitalist” or “anti-colonial”). Taking his starting point from the Black Lives Matter movement, which draws on a broad understanding of racial capitalism (necessarily linked to settler colonialism), Isser shows the importance of a solid theory of racial capitalism for political theory through the through engagement with a wide range of thinkers (eg Marx, Cedric Robinson, David Harvey, Wendy Brown, Jodi Melamed). Isser’s thesis shines especially in its incisive critique of the main thinkers of neoliberalism for their failures to sufficiently analyze the importance of race, and its brilliant analysis of “primitive racial/colonial accumulation”. Isser’s thesis is the most important, however, because it gives political theorists something they really need: a theory of racial capitalism that they can use and put to work in analyzing contemporary oppression.

thank you committee members for their services: Dr. Lida E. Maxwell (Chair) of Boston University, Ivan Andre Ascher of the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and Dr. Jane A. Gordon of the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

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