2010 Winner: Roberto M. Dainotto

Cover of Europe in Theory

About the Book

Europe (in Theory) by Duke University Press (2007)

Jury Statement: Written by an academic but readable by all, Dainotto’s Europe (In Theory) incisively analyzes how important theories about Europe have long relied on the construction of an “Oriental other” within Europe’s own borders. Showing how Europe’s southern territories were used in this way, Dainotto’s book transcends a focus on any one country and places Eurocentric ideology into serious question more generally. His work contains original reworkings of genealogies such as those of European history and European literature, and first-class analyses of Montesquieu, Voltaire, Madame De Stael, and Hegel. Thus, Europe (In Theory) presents an admirable synthesis of the critical and theoretical literature on the history of the idea or theory of Europe and offers a critical perspective on the question. Forceful, biting, compelling reading.

The Author: Roberto M. Dainotto

Roberto M. Dainotto

Roberto M. Dainotto is professor of Romance Studies and the Literature Program at Duke University, where he has been teaching modern and contemporary Italian literature since 1998. Dainotto’s research focuses on the relationship between writing and places (real or imaginary). A native of Italy, Dainotto did his undergraduate work at the University of Catania. At New York University, he completed his master and doctorate degrees in comparative literature. His publications include Racconti americani del Novecento (Einaudi, 1999), Place in Literature: Regions, Cultures, Communities (Cornell UP, 2000), and Europe (in Theory) (Duke UP, 2007).


The winning book is selected by a jury of five eminent scholars in European studies, at least two of whom are prominent scholars serving at institutions other than the University of Notre Dame.

  • Piero Boitani, Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Rome, La Sapienza
  • Theodore J. Cachey, Jr., Albert J. Ravarino Family Director of Dante and Italian Studies, Professor and Chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Notre Dame
  • Donald Crafton, Professor and Chair, Department of Film, Television & Theatre, University of Notre Dame
  • Margaret W. Ferguson, Professor of English, University of California, Davis
  • Christopher B. Fox, Professor of English and Director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, University of Notre Dame

The jury also recognized two honorable mentions:

Cosmopolitical Claims: Turkish-German Literatures from Nadolny to Pamuk
by B. Venkat Mani

Iowa University Press (2007)

Cultural Capitals: Early Modern London and Paris
by Karen Newman

Princeton University Press (2007)

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