• Joanna Kusiak


    Cambridge-based researcher and scholar-activist Joanna Kusiak has been announced as the winner of the 2022/23 Nine Dots Prize for her ‘exciting’ and ‘provocative’ response to our fourth question

    Kusiak’s winning essay argued that the rule of law has always been fragile, a result of its paradoxical foundations which bind together law and politics. Taking the case of the 2021 Berlin referendum, in which voters decided to expropriate more than 240,000 properties from corporate landlords into public ownership, Kusiak demonstrates the potential of radically legal politics as a path to deepen our democracies and renew the rule of law. You can read extracts from her winning entry here.

    Dr Joanna Kusiak is a scholar-activist who works at the University of Cambridge. Born in Poland, she has been shaped by the emancipatory tradition of the Solidarność movement and by the brutality of the neoliberal transformation. Her work focuses on urban land, housing crises, and the progressive potential of law. In 2021 she was one of the spokespeople of Deutsche Wohnen & Co enteignen, Berlin’s successful referendum campaign to expropriate stock-listed landlords. She also writes and performs poetry.

    Nine Dots Prize 2022/23 winner Dr Joanna Kusiak said: “The rule of law promises that all people are free and equal, yet too often it fails to deliver on its promise, getting entangled by power. My book, provisionally titled Radically Legal, showcases how social movements in Berlin and Warsaw work with the law to renew its emancipatory potential. My proposal was the work of love, and I feel elevated by winning the Nine Dots Prize. I am a scholar-activist, which means that I only engage with the topics that I believe are socially important.”

    Mandy Hill, Managing Director of Academic Publishing at Cambridge University Press said: “Dr Joanna Kusiak’s insightful, stimulating work on the rule of law is a worthy and timely winner. Her work epitomises Cambridge University Press’ values: enabling inspirational and contested ideas and voices to reach a wider audience. We are excited to support Dr Kusiak to convert her ideas into book form.”

The board