“An original and forcefully argued book"
Author Mahmood Mamdani has been shortlisted for the 2021 British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding.
He is one of four authors to be nominated for the non-fiction prize.
The 75-year-old has been selected for his book Neither Settler Nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities which was published in 2020.
Neither Settler Nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities is described as:
“An in-depth inquiry into political modernity, colonial and postcolonial, and an exploration of the roots of violence that has plagued postcolonial society.”
Uganda-born Mamdani is now in the running for a £25,000 prize from The British Academy who is responsible for organising the competition.
The prize “reward[s] and celebrate[s] the best works of non-fiction that have contributed to public understanding of world cultures”.
On the book, the judges said:
“An original and forcefully argued book that explores how the development of the colonial and postcolonial nation-state has produced ‘permanent minorities’, who are then victimised as existing outside national belonging.
“The book is particularly strong in exploring the consequences of this problem, here shown to have caused extreme xenophobic violence in various postcolonial situations.
“Mamdani makes a convincing case for the necessary reimagining of politics that has to happen before the situation can be improved.
“A valuable book on an issue of outstanding importance.”
Mamdani is currently the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York.
He received his PhD from Harvard University in 1974.
Mahmood Mamdani specialises in the study of African history and politics and is also the Director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) in Uganda.
Other nominees include Sri Lankan historian Sujit Sivasundaram who has written a maritime history of the Empire entitled Waves across the South: A New History of Revolution and Empire.
Cal Flyn has been selected for his exploration of the ecology and psychology of abandoned places called Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape.
The fourth nomination is Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for Today by Eddie S Glaude Jr whose “searing indictment of racial injustice in America” is inspired by Baldwin.
The shortlist was announced on Tuesday, September 7, 2021, by a five-person jury chaired by Patrick Wright FBA, who is president of the human rights organisation English PEN.
He said: “Through meticulous research and compelling argument each writer shortlisted for this important prize casts new light on a globally significant problem.
“In different ways, the books all speak directly to the urgent challenges of the times in which we live.”
All four nominees will convene for a special live event in partnership with the London Review Bookshop on Wednesday, October 13, 2021.
The winner of the British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding 2021 will be announced on Tuesday, October 26, 2021.