Prof. Massimiliano Tomba Awarded Prize for Publication

October 18, 2022

Congrats to Prof. Tomba for co-winning the 2021 David and Elaine Spitz Prize!

History of Consciousness Professor Massimiliano Tomba’s recent publication has been co-awarded the 2021 David and Elaine Spitz Prize. The Prize is awarded every year by CSPT, The International Conference for the Study of Political Thought, for the best books in liberal and/or democratic theory published two years earlier. 

Selected from a wide range of applications, Tomba’s Insurgent Universality: An Alternative Legacy of Modernity was chosen for this prestigious award. Insurgent Universality presents an intervention in current discussions on universalism, democracy, and property. It investigates other trajectories besides traditional ones of modernity and traces an alternative legacy for contemporary movements. This legacy exceeds the familiar juridical horizon of citizenship, individual rights, and the state by revisiting questions relating to power, democratic practices, and the modern conception of private property. Insurgent Universality investigates and displays alternative trajectories of modernity that have been repressed, hindered, and forgotten. These trajectories are not only embodiments of radical hope and a new conception of universality that arose from insurgencies from below; they also alert us to possibilities in our present that have been underestimated or overlooked. Eventually, they show us alternative institutions by which to reshape our present. These experimental democratic practices and institutions are based on the pluralism of authorities instead of the monopoly power of the state. However, such an inquiry resists the utopian urge to clear the tables. Instead, the book examines more closely, and with a fresh perspective, those aspects of our intellectual inheritance that we have allowed to remain in the darkness. By doing this, Insurgent Universality aims to “decolonize” European history, offering an image of Europe that is not monolithic but, rather, composed of many layers and paths that have been repressed or forgotten. The aim of the book is to rebuild those roads not taken and bridge them with non-European trajectories and political experiments.

Read about the committee’s selections here: