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  • Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy shortlisted for 2019 Laura Shannon Prize

Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy shortlisted for 2019 Laura Shannon Prize

The Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the University of Notre Dame has included Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy by Daniel Ziblatt on the shortlist for the 2019 Laura Shannon Prize in Contemporary European Studies.

Carrying a prize of $10,000, the Laura Shannon Prize is awarded annually to the author of the best book in European studies that transcends a focus on any one country, state, or people to stimulate new ways of thinking about contemporary Europe as a whole.

The 2019 Laura Shannon Prize will be awarded to the best History and Social Science book published in 2016 and 2017. The winning book is selected by a jury of five eminent scholars in European studies. The winner will be announced in January 2019.

In Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy, Daniel Ziblatt revisits the timely and classic question of how democracies form and die in a wide-ranging historical narrative that traces the evolution of modern political democracy in Europe from its modest beginnings in 1830s Britain to Adolf Hitler's 1933 seizure of power in Weimar Germany. Based on rich historical and quantitative evidence, the book offers a major reinterpretation of European history and the question of how stable political democracy is achieved. The barriers to inclusive political rule, Ziblatt finds, were not inevitably overcome by unstoppable tides of socioeconomic change, a simple triumph of a growing middle class, or even by working class collective action. Instead, political democracy's fate surprisingly hinged on how conservative political parties – the historical defenders of power, wealth, and privilege – recast themselves and coped with the rise of their own radical right. With striking modern parallels, the book has vital implications for today's new and old democracies under siege.

The Press-published Modernity and Bourgeois: Society, Politics, and Culture in England, France and Germany since 1750 by Jerrold Seigel won the Laura Shannon Prize in 2014.

Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy has also been awarded the 2018 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award, 2018 Best Book Award, European Politics and Society Section, and the 2018 Best Book Award, Comparative Democratization Section from the American Political Science Association. It was also co-awarded the 2018 Barrington Moore Book Award, Comparative and Historical Sociology Section from the American Sociological Association.

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