The 2023 Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize in Transdisciplinary Philosophy Winner

Five books were shortlisted for the inaugural Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize in Transdisciplinary Philosophy which will annually reward the most original philosophical research that transcends academic disciplines.

The Prize

The new £20,000 prize is the first of its kind in the UK and brings together books that demonstrate rigorous original and high-quality transdisciplinary research; are accessible and engaging to read; are original, innovative, and impactful; intend to advance and contribute to the understanding of human behaviours.

The 2023 Winner

The 2023 Winner: The Right to Sex by Amia Srinivasan 

How should we talk about sex? It is a thing we have and also a thing we do; a supposedly private act laden with public meaning; a personal preference shaped by outside forces; a place where pleasure and ethics can pull wildly apart. To grasp sex in all its complexity – its deep ambivalences, its relationship to gender, class, race and power – we need to move beyond ‘yes and no’, wanted and unwanted. We need to rethink sex as a political phenomenon.

Searching, trenchant and extraordinarily original, The Right to Sex is a landmark examination of the politics and ethics of sex in this world, animated by the hope of a different one.

“Amia Srinivasan’s The Right to Sex is an extraordinary book that transcends disciplinary barriers. The author encourages readers to think with her through fundamental questions about gender, class, race, and power that are of utmost significance to the understanding of human behaviours. Every person in the world should read this brilliant book as soon as they can.”

Chair of the judging panel, Professor Constantine Sandis, Director of Lex Academic and Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire

About the author

Amia Srinivasan was born in 1984 in Bahrain and raised in London, New York, Singapore and Taiwan. She is currently the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at All Souls College, Oxford, and has held permanent or visiting academic posts at University College London, Yale, NYU and UCLA.

The shortlist

“The shortlist shows just how wide ranging, and vital, work in philosophy that does not confine itself to traditional boundaries is. It is a pleasure to see such rich and important books drawn to our attention thanks to the generous benefaction of Nayef Al-Rodhan, and the careful, and extensive, work of the committee, chaired by Constantine Sandis.”
Professor Lucy O’Brien, Chair of the Royal Institute of Philosophy

Helgoland: The Strange and Beautiful Story of Quantum Physics 

In June 1925, twenty-three-year-old Werner Heisenberg, suffering from hay fever, retreated to a small, treeless island in the North Sea called Helgoland. It was there that he came up with one of the most transformative scientific concepts: quantum theory.

About the author
Carlo Rovelli is an internationally acclaimed writer whose books, including Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, The Order of Time and Helgoland, have been number one bestsellers around the world and translated into over forty languages. As a theoretical physicist, he has made significant contributions to the physics of space.

Interdisciplinarity in the Making: Models and Methods in Frontier Science 

In this full-scale cognitive ethnography, Nancy J.
Nersessian offers an account of how scientists at the
interdisciplinary frontiers of bioengineering create novel problem-solving methods. Her findings have broad
implications for researchers in philosophy, science studies, cognitive science, and interdisciplinary studies, as well as scientists, educators, policy makers, and funding agencies.

About the author
Nancy J. Nersessian is Regents’ Professor of Cognitive Science Emerita, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Research Associate in Psychology, Harvard University. She is the author of Creating Scientific Concepts (MIT Press).

A New Vision for Islamic Pasts and Futures 

This groundbreaking, born-digital work invites readers to imagine Islam anew. Moving beyond conventional theological, nativist, and orientalist approaches, Shahzad Bashir decenters Islam from a geographical identification with the Middle East, an articulation through men’s authority alone, and the assumption that premodern expressions are more authentically Islamic than modern ones.

About the author
Shahzad Bashir is Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Humanities and Professor of History and Religious Studies at Brown University. He is the author of, most recently, The Market in Poetry in the Persian World and Sufi Bodies: Religion and Society in Medieval Islam and coeditor of Under the Drones: Modern Lives in the Afghanistan–Pakistan Borderlands.

Making Monsters: The Uncanny Power of Dehumanization 

How do some people come to believe that their enemies
are monsters, and therefore easy to kill? David Livingstone Smith offers a poignant meditation on the philosophical and psychological roots of dehumanization. Drawing on harrowing accounts of lynchings, Smith suggests that when we dehumanize our enemy, we believe our enemy is at once subhuman and fully human.

About the author
David Livingstone Smith is Professor of Philosophy at the University of New England in Maine. He has published nine books, including On Inhumanity and Less Than Human, which won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for contributions to the understanding of racism and appreciation of diversity.

About the Nayef Al-Rodhan International Prize 

Read more about the inaugural Nayef Al-Rodhan International Prize in Transdisciplinary Philosophy.

About the Book Prize