Written by Tasha Tsiaperas, CNN
A University of Toronto professor was awarded the world’s most prestigious book prize on Saturday for a book that argues for greater public engagement in policy.
When the inaugural Doris Kearns Goodwin Prize for Nonfiction announced the 2018 winner, it was announced that the prize was going to Dan Breznitz, an associate professor of philosophy at the university.
Breznitz’s book, “Making a Case: (Immigrants), Borders, and New America,” argues that the United States’ policy toward immigration has been shaped by “traditions and assertions that run counter to public interest and rhetoric that operates on behalf of the well-off minority.”
Students gather around the life-size Death Star model, designed to look like that on George Lucas’ original “Star Wars” movie, during a student-staff event at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, on January 29, 2017. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Those “superficial myths” include the idea that US cities and towns are shrinking at a record rate, resulting in racial tension and economic disparity.
Breznitz said that he “wanted to challenge those hollow myths that are at the heart of US race relations” and “in particular combat the modernization of race, which uses race to pretend race doesn’t exist.”
Kearns Goodwin, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for “Team of Rivals,” is a political historian and the widow of former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. The award is named after the wife of the U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
Breznitz, who is also an author, holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Cornell University. He received his Masters in sociology from Columbia University, where he worked on illegal migration in the US.
Kearns Goodwin said “Dan’s important book takes us along on an experience that is very much alive today, that of the response to immigration.”
“His arguments are written and presented in a way that is very accessible. He is also realistic and fills in a lot of the blanks about current policy and politics in the US.”