Merze Tate Award
Nominations are now closed.
The Merze Tate Award honors the best doctoral dissertation successfully defended during the previous two years in the field of international relations, law, and politics.
The award is presented at the APSA Annual Meeting and carries a cash prize of $750. This award was previously known as the Helen Dwight Reid Award. Helen Dwight Reid’s primary contribution to scholarship was International Servitudes in Law and Practice
, published in 1932 by the University of Chicago Press. Her book catalogs and classifies “international servitudes”, which are agreements among independent states “whereby the territory of one state is made liable to permanent use by another state, for some specified purpose” (p. 25). These include, among others, agreements about the use of natural resources, fishing rights, transit routes, military bases, and demilitarized zones. Reid argues that these agreements facilitate redistribution of resources without limiting sovereignty.
Merze Tate was the first African American woman studying international relations to receive a doctoral degree in Government (1941, Radcliffe). She published many books and articles, including The Disarmament Illusion: The Movement for a Limitation of Armaments to 1907
(New York: MacMillan and Co., 1942), The United States and Armaments
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1948), and The United States and the Hawaiian Kingdom: A Political History
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965). Most of her career was spent as a professor of History at Howard University, although she also traveled as a foreign correspondent. Tate and her work have been profiled in such publications as PS: Political Science and Politics
(profile written by Maurice C. Woodard and published in the January 2005 issue) and White World Order, Black Power Politics: The Birth of American International Relations
, by Robert Vitalis (Cornell University Press, 2015). Tate is the subject of at least one intellectual biography in progress. In choosing to name the award after Merze Tate, the committee noted that “her perseverance in the face of significant structural obstacles is inspiring and particularly meaningful for a dissertation award.”