AES regularly holds juried competitions for three awards, all of which recognize outstanding work in the field.



Book Awards
At the 1996 American Ethnological Society Spring Board Meeting, and on the suggestion of Akhil Gupta, the then AES Treasurer and now AAA Past President, AES initiated the AES Senior and Junior Book Awards. After both awards were granted in 1996 and 1997 and in light of the heavy workload entailed, AES began to offer the awards every other year. Sharon Stephens served on the jury of the first Senior Book Award in 1996; after her tragic death in 1998, the Junior Book Award was renamed in honor.

Elsie Clews Parsons Award
The Elsie Clews Parsons Prize for the best Graduate Student Essay was awarded by the American Ethnological Society as long ago as the 1960s, well before the AES became fully incorporated into the AAA in 1984. It was suspended for approximately a decade and reinstated in the 1990s. The American Folklore Society, for whom Parsons served as President 1919 -20, presented an Elsie Clews Parsons Book Prize during the 1980s.

Sharon Stephens Prize

The Sharon Stephens Prize is awarded biennially for a junior scholar’s first book. The prize goes to a work that speaks to contemporary social issues with relevance beyond the discipline and beyond the academy.

The June 1st 2021 deadline has now passed. Decisions have now been announced.

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Senior Book Prize

The prize goes to a work that is deeply ethnographic and speaks to contemporary social issues with relevance beyond the discipline and beyond the academy.

Next deadline May 21st 2022

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Elsie Clews Parsons Prize



The Elsie Clews Parsons Prize is awarded yearly for the best graduate-student paper that engages with AES's core commitments to combining innovative fieldwork with rich theoretical critique.

The AES Board invites individuals who are students in a graduate degree-granting program (including M.A. and Ph.D.) to submit stand-alone papers demonstrating outstanding ethnography for consideration for the Parsons Prize.

October 14, 2022

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