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, and may not have been previously submitted for this prize. Books eligible for the Sharon Stephens competition should carry a copyright date of 2021 or 2022, without exception.

The jury for the 2023 prize is chaired by AES councilor Erica Caple James, with jury members Sa’ed Atshan and Winifred Tate.

Letters of nomination must come from scholars; self-nominations and nominations from presses are not invited. Nominator letters are due on the AES website by April 15, 2023. See below for book submission information.

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. Decisions will be announced in the AES Newsletter, etc., and awards given at the 2023 AAA annual meeting.

Nominators should arrange for the author to send physical copies of their book to each juror by May 1, 2023, at the following addresses:

Prof. Erica Caple James
Department of Urban Studies and Planning
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Bldg. 9-527
Cambridge, MA 02139

Professor Sa’ed Atshan
Department of Anthropology
Emory University
1557 Dickey Dr
Atlanta, GA 30322

Professor Winifred Tate
5 Bartlett Street
Waterville Maine
Please contact Erica James ( if you have any questions regarding the submission process.

Erica James (chair)

Sa’ed Atshan

Winifred Tate

Past Awardees