The section awards a book prize in the International Relations sub-field of Feminist Theory and Gender Studies each year. The award recognizes a book published in the preceding two calendar years that excels in originality, impact, and rigor towards furthering feminist theory and gender studies within the discipline of international relations. Where possible we have included a sample chapter from the book, and in some cases the full text, accessible by clicking on the chapter title.


Winner: Sylvia Tamale (2020) “Decolonization and Afro-Feminism” (Daraja Press)

 Sylvia Tamale’s Decolonization and Afro-Feminism makes a compelling case for unlearning imperial power relations by “shaking off” the colonial filters through which we view the world. This process, she argues is a process of relearning that re-envisions Pan-Africanism as a more inclusive decolonizing/decolonial movement that embraces Afro-feminist politics.  Tamale also challenges the traditional human rights paradigm and its concomitant idea of “gender equality,” flagging instead, the African philosophy of Ubuntu as a serious alternative for reinvigorating African notions of social justice.

 Decolonisation and Afro-Feminism is outstanding in terms of originality, significance and contribution to the FTGS mission. It provides an important alternative to current to the hierarchies that are reproduced by international relations theories. It is a book that encourages us to think beyond binaries to imagine a different future in which the Orientalist Western gaze in replaced by a deep sense of ownership for a radical future. As Tamale points out in the introduction, this book is “This book is my humble contribution in the efforts to construct a counter-hegemonic feminist narrative for future generations. It is part of the narrative that does not simply commit to the struggle for decolonialization, but also recognizes the dynamics of gender within the struggle for new ways of being” (Tamale, 2020: 10). It is a book about hope, transformation, inclusion and participation in a movement rooted in the ethics of Afro-Feminism. 

This book stands out in a field in which such great work was published in the last two years for its commitment to transformation and creating a new vision that transcends the legal of colonialism and neo-liberalism. The analysis is theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich, providing ample opportunities for engagement for all readers”.


Winner: Rauna Kuokkanen, Restructuring relations: Indigenous self-determination, governance, and gender, Oxford University Press, 2019

The book conceptualises indigenous self-determination as a foundational value, in particular its ability to restructure relations of power – the author couples that contention with an investigation of gender regimes within indigenous self-government institutions. Moreover, Kuokkanen investigates the links between indigenous self determination and gender violence against indigenous women, emerging from statist structures and interpersonal physical and sexual violence. The study is based on detailed and extensive fieldwork and conversations with indigenous women in Canada, Greenland, and Sápmi. Kuokkanen draws upon indigenous and feminist political and legal theory, which enables her to identify new forms of self-determination. Through interviews across the aforementioned three indigenous spaces the author proposes that indigenous self determination is a foundational value, closely linked to individual integrity (freedom from bodily harm and violence)  and the integrity of the land.

Runner up: Joanna Allan, Silenced Resistance: Women, Dictatorships and Genderwashing in Western Sahara and Equatorial Guinea, University of Wisconsin Press, 2019.  


Sara C. Motta, Liminal Subjects: Weaving our Liberation, Rowman and Littlefield 2018.


Laura J. Shepherd, Gender, UN Peacebuilding, and the Politics of Space, Oxford University Press, 2017.


Dara Kay Cohen, Rape During Civil War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2016).


Lauren Wilcox, Bodies of Violence: Theorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).

Jemima Repo, The Biopolitics of Gender (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).


Maria Eriksson Baaz and Maria Stern, Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War? Perceptions, Prescriptions, Problems in the Congo and Beyond (London: Zed Books, 2013).

General Information

Recipients must meet the following criteria:

  1. Recipients must be a current member of ISA.
  2. Recipients must be members of the FTGS section.
  3. Books must have been published in the two preceding calendar years (i.e. the book must have an official publication date of 2020 or 2021 for nomination this year).
  4. Nominators/ nominees are responsible for making sure the publisher provides copies of the nominated book for the committee by the nomination deadline.
  5. Books that were previously nominated are not eligible for nomination in the following year.

Selection Process

  • The winner will be selected by the FTGS Book Award Committee. The current committee are: Roberta Guerrina (chair), Punam Yadav, Catherine Goetze and Toni Haastrup. 


  • The winner will be announced in December, along with details of other finalists.
  • The prize is awarded at the ISA conference the following spring.

Apply for the FTGS Book Prize

  • Nominations for the book prize are now open, and should be sent to the Chair of the Award Committee Roberta Guerrina at Nominations should include details of the publication and a 300-500 word justification.
  • Please also note that arrangements will need to be made with publishers to provide copies of the nominated books to the committee as soon as possible