Bourdieu’s Secret Admirer in the Caucasus

Bourdieu’s Secret Admirer in the Caucasus

University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, 2005


This book is both an exploration of the ethnic wars that erupted after the fall of the Soviet union and a biography of Musa Shanib. An intellectual reformer turned nationalist warlord, Shanib was also a fan of the leftist French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. To make it clear that this is not a conventional biography, I decided not to use the photos of Shanib that the author provided and instead to commission an illustration that would be both mysterious and representative of the book’s larger themes. The illustrator and I decided to erase Shanib’s face and to focus on the traditional sheepskin hat of a Circassian prince that Shanib wore to identify himself as heir to a civilization that predated Soviet rule.

Juror Notes

Supremely simple—hand illustration, simple case of colors and clean type on colored paper—this cover is also supremely effective.

Collections: 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2005
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Book design
Format: Book cover


Design firm
University of Chicago Press
Art director
Jill Shimabukuro
Jacket designer
Isaac Tobin
Lauren Nassef
Production director
Sylvia Hecimovich
Production coordinator
Chezin Lee
Georgi M. Derluguian
John Tryneski
Trim size
6 x 9 inches
Jacket printer
Phoenix Color
University of Chicago Press