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.

Ethnographies and critical works in contemporary theory – single-authored or multi-authored but not edited collections – are eligible. The book should be a first monograph by a junior scholar, have been published in the last two years, and may not have been previously submitted for this prize.

The jury for the prize is chaired by an AES councilor, with two or three other scholars as jury members.

Letters of nomination must come from scholars; self-nominations and nominations from presses are not invited.

Criteria may include: originality, rigor, and maturity of research; an innovative approach to ethnography; theoretical sophistication and depth; thematic prescience; and an enduring contribution to Anthropology and beyond.

Announcements regarding the deadlines and other specifics will be posted on this website, and other email based and social media platforms.

The 2021 deadline has now passed. Please contact Naveeda Khan ( if you have any questions regarding the submissions process.

Naveeda Khan (Chair)

Elizabeth Ferry

Sameena Mulla

Hoon Song

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Past Awardees

  • Cosmologies of Credit

    by Julie Chu

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  • Lydia’s Open Door


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  • Counting the Dead

    by Winifred Tate

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  • The Ethical Soundscape

    by Charles Hirschkind

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  • Markets of Dispossession

    by Julia Elyachar

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  • Landscapes of Devils

    by Gaston Gordillo

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  • Being a Buddhist Nun

    by Kim Gutschow

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  • In Amazonia

    by Hugh Raffles

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  • Advocacy After Bhopal

    by Kim Fortun

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  • Life Exposed

    by 2003 Joint Winner

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  • Screening Culture, Viewing Politics

    by Purnima Mankekar

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  • Racial Situations

    by John Jr. Hartigan

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