AES regularly holds juried competitions for three awards and a yearly thesis funding prize, all of which recognize outstanding work in the field.

Sharon Stephens Prize

The Sharon Stephens Prize is awarded biennially for a junior scholar’s first book.

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Senior Book Prize

The Senior Book Prize goes to a work that is deeply ethnographic and speaks to contemporary issues.

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Elsie Clews Parsons Prize

The Elsie Clews Parsons Prize is awarded yearly for the best graduate-student paper.

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Thesis Funding

Small grant competition for students in their first or second year of a PhD program in anthropology.

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History of the 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 her honor.