2011 Lepgold Winner: Leaders and International Conflict, H.E. Goemans and Giacomo Chiozza

2011 Honorable Mention: The Image Before the Weapon

The 2011 Lepgold Prize has been awarded to Prof. Giacomo Chiozza (Vanderbuilt University) and Prof. H. E. Goemans (University of Rochester) for their book, Leaders and International Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2011). 

Chiozza and Goemans seek to explain why and when political leaders decide to initiate international crises and wars. They argue that the fate of leaders and the way leadership changes shapes leaders' decisions to initiate international conflict. Leaders who anticipate regular removal from office, through elections for example, have little to gain and much to lose from international conflict, whereas leaders who anticipate a forcible removal from office, such as through coup or revolution, have little to lose and much to gain from conflict. This theory is tested against an extensive analysis of more than 80 years of international conflict and with an intensive historical examination of Central American leaders from 1848 to 1918. Leaders and International Conflict highlights the political nature of the choice between war and peace and will appeal to all scholars of international relations and comparative politics.


The Lepgold Prize Committee also awarded an Honorable Mention to Helen Kinsella of the University of Wisconsin–Madison for her book The Image Before the Weapon (Cornell University Press, 2011). 

In The Image before the Weapon, Kinsella explores the evolution of the concept of the civilian and how it has been applied in warfare. A series of discourses—including gender, innocence, and civilization—have shaped the legal, military, and historical understandings of the civilian and she documents how these discourses converge at particular junctures to demarcate the difference between civilian and combatant. Engaging with works on the law of war from the earliest thinkers in the Western tradition, including St. Thomas Aquinas and Christine de Pisan, to contemporary figures such as James Turner Johnson and Michael Walzer, Kinsella identifies the foundational ambiguities and inconsistencies in the principle of distinction, as well as the significant role played by Christian concepts of mercy and charity.

For an extended description, please see the publisher's website.