The Library of Congress announced today that it would award the $1 million Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the study of humanity to Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a distinguished sociologist and political scientist who also served two terms as the president of Brazil (from 1995-2003). Cardoso has taught as the Universidade de São Paulo, Cambridge University and, most recently, Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies; he has also served as a member of Americas Quarterly’s editorial board since 2007.
In a statement, librarian of Congress James H. Billington described Cardoso as “the outstanding political scientist in late-20th-century Latin America.” He added, “If you want to make an American comparison, he is like Jefferson, playing a key role in building a democracy on a scholarly foundation.”
Cardoso’s work on the social structures of Brazil spanned the fields of sociology, political science and economics, and deeply informed his role as the shepherd of Brazil’s transition from a military dictatorship with high inflation to a more inclusive democracy with high economic growth. His analysis of slavery’s impact on economic patterns paved the way for greater dynamism and innovation in the Brazilian economy. Cardoso is perhaps best known, however, for the book Dependency and Development in Latin America (1979), in which he and Chilean scholar Enzo Faletti countered one of the tenets of traditional dependency theory by arguing that developing countries could use strategic partnerships with foreign companies to promote development.
Endowed by Library benefactor John W. Kluge, the Kluge prize is international and the main eligibility criterion is “deep intellectual accomplishment in the study of humanity,” with a focus on disciplines not recognized by Nobel prizes, including history, philosophy, politics, sociology, humanities and arts criticism, and linguistics. The Library of Congress will present the Kluge prize to Cardoso on July 10 in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington DC.