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UW-Madison political scientist wins award for international relations research

July 13, 2012 By Stacy Forster

A University of Wisconsin–Madison political scientist has received the inaugural Sussex International Theory Prize for innovative research in international relations.

Photo: Helen Kinsella


Helen M. Kinsella, an associate professor of political science, was recognized for her book, “The Image Before the Weapon: A Critical History of the Distinction Between Combatant and Civilian,” published by Cornell University Press last year.

The award is sponsored by Cambridge University Press. Judges from the Centre for Advanced International Theory (CAIT) said Kinsella’s book, which explores the political and social implications of the distinction between combatants and civilians in war and international politics and law, demonstrated “enormous originality, quality and rigor.”

“The book is outstanding in its theoretical, historical, and empirical ambition and achievements, as well as in its significance for current international politics,” the judges said. “It provides a brilliant demonstration of the kind of fundamental research CAIT wishes to value and showcase.”

As winner of the award, Kinsella will deliver a lecture on her current research at the University of Sussex in the spring of 2013, titled “Counterinsurgency and the Laws of War.”

“I am very pleased the prize committee underscored the significance of my research for contemporary conflicts, such as Afghanistan,” Kinsella says.