The judges were so impressed by the strength and depth of the candidates under consideration for the inaugural 2020 Early Career Prize of the Britain and Ireland Association for Political Thought that they voted to make two awards, to Dr Teresa Bejan of the University of Oxford and to Dr Paul Sagar of King’s College London.
Paul Sagar is Lecturer in Political Theory in the Department of Political Economy at King’s College London. He did his BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, Oxford (2008), before studying for an MA in Political Thought and Intellectual History at Queen Mary University of London (2010) and writing his PhD in History at King’s College, Cambridge. That 2014 PhD became his book, The Opinion of Mankind: Sociability and the Theory of the State from Hobbes to Smith, which was published by Princeton in 2018. Sagar was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship, also at King’s, Cambridge, and worked there until moving to the other King’s at the start of 2018.
Dr Sagar is a very productive scholar indeed. He has already published over a dozen articles in leading journals, together with a steady stream of book reviews, and has completed the draft of his second monograph, Adam Smith Reconsidered: History, Commerce, and the Foundations of Modern Politics. In addition to the quantity and quality, the range of his scholarship is similarly striking: he works in the history of political thought, of course, but is also involved in a range of debates in contemporary political theory, especially but not only around ‘realism’, arguing that the eighteenth century’s questions are still very much our questions and that the best political thinking still has much to learn from the past masters of the Scottish Enlightenment. Earlier this year, he appeared on the BBC’s quiz show Mastermind, his special subject being ‘the life and works of Adam Smith’.
Paul Sagar is an inexhaustibly energetic and tremendously impressive scholar and teacher, and the Association for Political Thought is delighted to make him the joint winner of its inaugural Early Career Prize.