2021 Silver Medalists

From Triumph To Crisis by Hilary Appel and Mitchell A. Orenstein

From Triumph to Crisis: Neoliberal Economic Reform in Postcommunist Countries

by Hilary Appel, Podlich Family Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College
and Mitchell A. Orenstein, Professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania

Published by Cambridge University Press

Jury Statement

“A highly important and original book, ‘From Triumph to Crisis’ offers a comprehensive and empirically rich account of economic reform in European post-communist countries. More notably, it also pursues an innovative and critical approach to classical interpretations of pertinent transformation processes from communism to neo-liberal capitalism. 

“Hilary Appel and Mitchell A. Orenstein challenge the much-vaunted theory of a post-communist ‘cultural embrace’ of neo-liberalism after decades of state-led economic policy. They convincingly demonstrate how much such an embrace was driven by post-communist governments’ need to compete for foreign direct investments to (re)build their national capital stocks. In the pursuit of this goal, governments resorted to the instrument of ‘competitive signaling’ of their neo-liberal reforms to global financial markets. However, the story does not end here. Appel and Orenstein offer an intriguing sequel as they show how post-communist governments, once they deemed their mission completed, at least partially reversed neo-liberal reforms to guarantee better social security to their electorates. 

Mitchell A. OrensteinMitchell A. Orenstein
Hilary AppelHilary Appel

“A compelling work that goes beyond the state of the art in transformation theory, this book will spark debates within and without academia and inspire new research agendas. It should be read by social scientists and policymakers alike.”

Manual For Survival by Kate Brown

Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future

by Kate Brown, Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Published by W. W. Norton & Company

Jury Statement

“A bold rethinking of the narrative of the Chernobyl catastrophe, ‘Manual for Survival’ locates the events at the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in a broad geographical and temporal frame that moves between diverse scales and types of evidence: the experiences of everyday people tenaciously hanging on to life in the Pripyat Marshes, studies of radiation and its effects, archives of state bureaucracies in the Soviet Union and its successor states, and the interventions of NGOs like Greenpeace and international organizations such as the UN and WHO. 

“In situating Chernobyl on a continuum of nuclear contamination that is not just European but global in scope, Kate Brown powerfully challenges our understanding of Chernobyl, demonstrating how it represents a critical point on a timeline of destruction.’ With reporting and storytelling that is at once remarkable in its form and alarming in what it exposes about the arrogance of power, ‘Manual for Survival’ offers a timely meditation on the politics of science and a chilling cautionary tale for our pandemic era.”

Kate Brown
Kate Brown, photo by Annette Hornischer


2021 Final Jury

Pamela Ballinger
Professor of History and Fred Cuny Chair in the History of Human Rights
University of Michigan

Semion Lyandres
Professor of History
University of Notre Dame

A. James McAdams
William M. Scholl Professor of International Affairs
University of Notre Dame

Jan Palmowski
Secretary-General of the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities and
Professor of Modern History
University of Warwick

Sonja Puntscher Riekmann
Professor Emerita of Political Theory and European Politics at the University of Salzburg and
Research Fellow at the Salzburg Centre of European Union Studies