The John W. Kluge Prize is designed deliberately to reward work in the wide range of disciplines not covered by the Nobel Prizes—including history, philosophy, politics, anthropology, sociology, religion, criticism in the arts and humanities, and linguistics. The prize is international; the recipient may be of any nationality, writing in any language. The prize is a $1million award.
The main criterion for a recipient of the Kluge Prize is deep intellectual accomplishment in the study of humanity. While the study of humanity is a part of academia, a nominee for the prize need not have worked primarily in academic institutions, but may also come from fields such as media, performing arts, or literature. The recipient will have demonstrated unusual distinction within a given area of inquiry that also affects perspectives and vision in other areas of study and walks of life. The recipient's body of work should evidence over the years growth in maturity and range. It should, in large part, be understandable to scholars in a variety of fields, to those involved in public affairs, and to the average layperson. Seniority is not necessarily a prerequisite for recognition of such achievement.
The Library invites nominations from a wide range of individuals knowledgeable about the humanities and social sciences, located in colleges, universities, embassies, and research institutions across the globe, as well as from independent scholars and writers and from Library curators. The invitation is by a letter that gives the guidelines required for a nomination. Because the group of nominators will grow and change over the years, suggestions for nominators are always welcome.
Nominations must be made in writing giving a detailed assessment of the nominee's accomplishments. Explanatory documentation is helpful, and is essential for any nomination submitted by anyone other than an invited nominator. Self nominations are not accepted. Nominations may be submitted initially by fax or email. Nominations and any supporting material should be sent to:
Office of Scholarly Programs
Library of Congress LJ 120
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20540-4860
The entire evaluation process is held in strictest confidence. The evaluation of the submitted nominations takes place in several stages. Once internal and external nominations have been collected, they are given to a panel of Library experts and curators for evaluation. On the basis of this evaluation-as well as his own, the Librarian selects approximately twenty nominees for further consideration. Library area studies experts then prepare a dossier containing biographical and bibliographic information, as well as key excerpts from seminal works, critiques, and commentaries for each of the selected nominees. The dossiers are sent to the members of the Library Scholars Council, a body of distinguished scholars, convened by the Librarian of Congress to advise on matters related to scholarship at the Library, with special attention to the Kluge Center and the Kluge Prize. After receiving evaluations from each Scholars Council member, the Librarian selects the top five nominees. Independent outside experts are called upon to prepare Expert Reader reports, advocacies, formal peer reviews and informal assessments. A Final Review Panel then reviews each finalist intensively and comprehensively, considering his or her entire life’s work as documented in the dossiers and additional materials. The panel presents the arguments in favor of and against each finalist to the Librarian of Congress, who draws upon all the evaluation and discussion to make the final decision concerning the award of the John W. Kluge Prize.
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