Professor of political science wins $60,000 prize for book on French peace accords

A professor of political science at the University of Toronto is the winner of the 2018 Human Rights Writers’ Trust’s Prize for Social Justice Writing.

The prize, announced Monday, is given to a Canadian who has produced a book that makes a significant contribution to the field of social-justice writing. Its $60,000 prize money will be donated to Alliance Francaise, a French-language organization. The award is one of Canada’s largest, and was created in 1992, according to the Toronto Star.

Announcing the winner, the judges said they had been drawn to Prof. Breznitz’s book, Fallen Angels, because it illustrated how a liberal democracy could be reproduced and strengthened, “even when institutions are weak.”

The book, they added, was “challenging not only for those who might see themselves as practitioners of the rights system, but for thinkers of pluralism and for advocates of democracy at every level.”

The book is a collection of 12 essays on the French peace accords of the 1990s — the Accords on the Abolition of Enemy Property, which were brokered by President François Mitterrand in 1989, and allowed the French government to expropriate property owned by German refugees during World War II.

The project was rooted in concern that, as the traumas that had led the refugees into France faded, their roots and culture were being destroyed.

Prof. Breznitz, 49, is a member of the Knights of Malta, the world’s oldest order of monasteries. She studied political science and law at Harvard and Columbia.

Click here to read the full story at The Star.


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