Josiah Ober receives 2023 Barry Prize
Stanford historian and political theorist Josiah Ober is one of 10 scholars to receive this award.
Josiah Ober, the Markos & Eleni Kounalakis Chair in Honor of Constantine Mitsotakis in the Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences, has received a 2023 Barry Prize from the American Academy of Sciences and Letters for Distinguished Intellectual Achievement—the academy’s premier award to promote excellence in scholarship. Ober and nine other scholars were honored with this prize at a ceremony held Nov. 8 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. to announce the launch of the American Academy of Sciences and Letters.
The Barry Prize recognizes scholars from diverse fields and disciplines whose work significantly contributed to “humanity's knowledge, appreciation, and cultivation of the good, the true, and the beautiful.” It is given to scholars of “extraordinary achievement and dedication to excellence in the arts, sciences and learned professions,” according to the award citation. Recipients are honored with academy membership and a $50,000 cash prize.
The award citation highlighted Ober’s research and efforts that span disciplines. “Uniting the fields of classics, philosophy, political science, and history, Josiah Ober has refreshed the theory and practice of democracy by connecting its historical sources in classical Greece to its various applications in the modern world,” the award citation stated. “As democracy has spread from a mere handful of nations to cover large portions of the globe, he has helped us to understand why and how we must preserve and protect its moral roots.”
“I am deeply honored by the award of a Barry Prize for my past work seeking to illuminate the possibilities of collective self-government and the challenges it faces by studying the ancient history of democracy,” said Ober, who is also a professor of political science and of classics. “I am inspired to redouble my efforts to develop programs that will help future generations to better understand the value of freedom, equality, and dignity and what it takes to keep them.”