Matthew Longo – 2016 Leo Strauss Award Recipient

The Leo Strauss prize is awarded annually for the best dissertation in the field of political philosophy.


Matthew Longo takes up a familiar phenomenon—the crossing of a border filled with hopes and anxiety—and turns it into a thought-provoking exploration of the border as a liminal zone in which politics is made.  Moving beyond understandings of borders as lines of demarcation, he argues that they are thick, multifaceted, and bi-national institutions with their own histories and logics.   Using a combination of sophisticated theoretical material and original empirical evidence, Longo argues that countries have moved to a mode of “co-bordering”, in which states cede sovereignty for security. The potential harm is a “neo-Imperial overreach” that moves international politics from a situation of heterarchy back to a mode of hierarchy.  The dissertation will most certainly be agenda-setting for debates about sovereignty, migration, justice, and democracy.

Special thanks to our committee Jill Hargis (Chair), California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Leigh Jenco, London School of Economics; Lars Toender, University of Copenhagen