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2024 Melvin Richter Prize Winner

CSPT is pleased to announce the winner for the 2024 Prize:

Shterna Friedman,  for her doctoral dissertation: “Kant, Hegel, and the Rise of Systemic Social Theory.”

Statement submitted by the Selection Committee for the Inaugural Melvin Richter Prize:

Bryan Garsten

Duncan Kelly

Cheryl B. Welch, Chair


The selection committee would like to acknowledge the Richter family for the generous establishment of the Melvin Richter Prize and for giving us the opportunity to consider so many impressive dissertations in the history of political thought.  Beyond his role as one of the founders of the Conference on Social and Political Thought, and his own important work, Mel Richter was a generous and unstinting mentor to younger scholars throughout his long career. This award in his name, then, is a particularly fitting tribute.


The Melvin Richter Prize for the best dissertation in the history of political thought is awarded in 2024 to Shterna Friedman for “Kant, Hegel, and the Rise of Systemic Social Theory.”


Shterna Friedman defends a bold thesis: that the language of systemic injustice so central to recent intellectual life in the public sphere and across the humanities and social sciences has its intellectual origins in theological debates about the whole that we have almost entirely forgotten. Friedman’s subtle and sharply observed interventions in the complex scholarly debates on German idealism—in which she carefully parses the underlying assumptions, implications, and structural problems in the writings of Kant and Hegel—is a tour de force of historical and philosophical reconstruction. This compelling, and compellingly systematic, study of the theological and philosophical presumptions behind systemic theory provides a sustained elaboration of the relevance of historical work undertaken in the service of political philosophy and social theory.

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