Polly Platt. Map sampler made at Pleasent Valley Quaker Boarding School, 1809. Silk and chenille embroidery on silk. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Purchase, Frank P. Stetz Bequest, in loving memory of David Stewart Hull, 2012.

2018 Submission Guidelines

Bard Graduate Center welcomes submissions for the 2018 Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Book Prize, awarded annually to the best book on the decorative arts, design history, or material culture of the Americas. The prize will reward scholarly excellence and commitment to cross-disciplinary conversation. Eligible titles include monographs, exhibition catalogues, and collections of essays in any language, published in print or in digital format. The winning author(s) or editor(s) will be chosen by a committee of Bard Graduate Center faculty and will be honored with a symposium on the subject of the book. Submissions must have a 2018 publication date.

Three copies of each print title should be sent to the below address along with an entry submission form. For digital publications, please email a copy of the form along with a link to the publication and a PDF of the publication to horowitz.prize@bgc.bard.edu.

Horowitz Book Prize Committee
Bard Graduate Center
38 West 86th Street
New York, NY 10024

Submissions must be postmarked by March 1, 2019. There is no limit to the number of submissions, but please note we are unable to return items submitted for review. Incomplete submissions will not be considered. Shipping is the responsibility of the applicant and we are not able to confirm receipt of submissions. The winning title will be announced in later summer 2019.

For questions, contact Laura Minsky, Assistant Director for Research Programs, at 212.501.3078 or horowitz.prize@bgc.bard.edu.

The entry submission form can be downloaded here.


2017 Winner

University of Texas Press, 2017.

We are pleased to announce that the book Inka History in Knots: Reading Khipus as Primary Sources by Gary Urton published by University of Texas Press has been awarded the inaugural Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Book Prize for the best book on the decorative arts, design history, or material culture of the Americas published in 2017. The book presents a comprehensive overview of the types of information recorded in these knotted strings, demonstrating how they can serve as primary documents for a history of the Inka Empire.

Says Dean Peter N. Miller:

“This book demonstrates an amazing amount of work that is slow, careful, and completely revolutionary. Urton takes on the monstrous task of figuring out how khipus work and then “reads” them for historical and cultural information about the Inka Empire. It is like figuring out hieroglyphics without a Rosetta Stone. Urton contends that it is because of our conception of history that we take khipus not to be historical objects. He then turns this around by using the khipus to get us to think again about what “our” notion of history is, thus using the khipus as one kind of history to help articulate a much broader sense of historiographical possibility. A pure triumph!”


In recognition of Professor Urton’s outstanding scholarship, Bard Graduate Center will host a symposium on the topic of the book in the spring of 2019. Learn more about the symposium here.

Gary Urton is the Dumbarton Oaks Professor of Pre-Columbian Studies and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous books and edited volumes on Andean/Quechua cultures and Inka civilization, including Signs of the Inka Khipu: Binary Coding in the Andean Knotted-String Records. Professor Urton is a recipient of both MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships.