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$1 Million Berggruen Philosophy Prize Awarded To Patricia Hill Collins

Foundational sociologist has made pivotal contributions to understanding of intersectionality, social justice

Patricia Hill Collins, a distinguished sociologist whose authorship of Black Feminist Thought (1990) helped kickstart intersectionality as a force in politics and society, has won the 2023 Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture, the Prize Jury announced today. The $1 million award is given annually by the Berggruen Institute to thinkers whose ideas have profoundly shaped human self-understanding and advancement in a rapidly changing world. 


“We are proud to announce that Patricia Hill Collins is the winner of the 2023 edition of the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture,” said Antonio Damasio, Chair of the Berggruen Prize Jury. “Her studies illuminate the material, social, and cultural conditions behind the mutilation of human possibilities while never failing to recognize the uniqueness of human experience,” he continued. “Patricia Hill Collins has given a voice and a face to so many who would otherwise have remained unheard and unseen.”


Collins’ pioneering work, Black Feminist Thought (1990), explored the rich but long-ignored intellectual tradition of US Black women and their distinctive analytical perspectives on life, developing a new vocabulary for the structure of society from their unique experiences over centuries of oppression. These insights underpinned an idea with relevance far beyond the American experience: that race, class, gender, and other dimensions of identity mutually construct one another to reinforce inequality everywhere. Collins carried these themes forward in numerous subsequent works, unleashing understandings that have reverberated throughout popular culture, politics, academia, and other hierarchies of power in the US and globally.

“Collins’ articulation of a new understanding of oppression and justice, combined with her insistence that ideas are necessarily the catalysts for institutional reform, captures both the spirit and mission of the Berggruen Prize,” said Nicolas Berggruen, Chairman and Founder of the Berggruen Institute. “In today’s time of urgent planetary challenges to equality, her work challenges thinkers to look to the experiences of unseen people for the ideas that will shape tomorrow.”  

The first Black laureate of the Berggruen PrizePatricia Hill Collins was selected from hundreds of scholars and practitioners in the fields of philosophy, social science, economics, human rights, theoretical physics, and beyond. 

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SOURCE Berggruen Institute

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