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La Jornada – The Princess of Asturias Prize for Social Sciences is awarded to Helen Carrier

La Jornada – The Princess of Asturias Prize for Social Sciences is awarded to Helen Carrier

Madrid. French historian Hélène Carrère d’Incouz, essayist and biographer on the former Soviet Union and Russia, has been honored with the 2023 Princess of Asturias Prize for Social Sciences. The jury highlighted her career by deeming her “one of the most brilliant, original and outstanding figures of French historiography and contemporary European thought”.

In previous editions, this distinction set the course for such luminaries as Mexican anthropologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, who earned it last year, or economist Paul Krugman, among others.

The jury consists mostly of academics and university professors such as Paz Patanir Arias, Javier Echevera Izbunda, Teresa Frixis Sangjuan, Juan Pablo Vauci Ispuria, Mauro Guillen Rodríguez, Silvia Iranzo Gutierrez and Ricardo Martí Villespan.

The justification that appears in the record states that “Hélène Carrer d’Incouz’s work—which includes research studies, biographies, and major essays on historical interpretation—constitutes perhaps the most substantial contribution that has been made in recent decades to knowledge of the Soviet Union and Russia, and one of the fundamental issues for understanding the contemporary world .

In addition, they affirm that “in line with her specialization in historiography, and as a member of the European Parliament, he prefers to deal with relations between the European Union and Russia. She is also an elected member of the French Academy, where she became, since 1999, the first woman to hold the position of permanent secretary.” They concluded by saying that “Hélène Carrère d’Encouz is one of the most brilliant, original, and distinguished figures in French historiography and contemporary European thought.”

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The proposal for Carrère d’Encausse was made by María Sheila Cremaschi, director of Spain’s Hay Festival, an institution that has received the same recognition in the past.

The laureate was born in Paris on July 6, 1929, to a Georgian father and a mother of Russian-German descent, so she grew up in an immigrant family, but with aristocratic ancestors, from whom she learned Russian history and literature, and the language. Later he chose French citizenship. She has a BA in political sciences, a degree obtained in 1952 from the Paris Institute of Political Studies (SciencePo), a doctorate in history in 1963 with a thesis on the revolution in Central Asia, and in literature and humanities in 1976 with a paper on the Bolsheviks and the Nation. She teaches history at the University of Paris 1. In 1969 she joined SciencePo as a professor and researcher, where she directed the Department of Soviet Studies at the Center for International Research and developed a large part of her career. At the same time, she was a professor at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, and a visitor to several European universities.

As a historian, Carrère d’Encausse has written books such as L’Empire éclaté (1978), a work in which he predicted the dissolution of the Soviet Union more than a decade earlier and which was a major milestone in his career. She is the author of, among several other titles, Of Des siècles d’immortalité: L’Academie française.

This is the third of the eight Princess of Asturias Awards to be awarded this year. Previously, the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts was awarded to American actress Meryl Streep and the Communication and Humanities Award to Italian professor, writer and philosopher Nuccio Ordine. In the coming weeks, those related to sports, messaging, international cooperation, scientific and technical research, and Concorde will be decided upon.

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