Elsie Clews Parsons Prize


The next deadline will be announced in fall 2021


AES awards a cash prize of $300; the winner will also be recognized at the AES annual spring conference and will receive $200 to offset the cost of travel to the conference. The winner will be announced in Anthropology News.

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 Elsie Clews Parsons Prize.


Papers should engage with AES core commitments to combining innovative fieldwork with rich theoretical critique. Papers should not exceed 8,000 words (including notes and references) and should follow AAA style guidelines. Submissions should be unpublished manuscripts not currently under review elsewhere, forthcoming, or in press. Submission is open to current students and those who received their degree in the calendar year of submission.

Submission details

Please submit two PDFs: One containing a cover sheet with the author’s name, contact information, paper title and acknowledgments and the other containing the paper’s title, text, notes and references but not otherwise identifying the author. Papers will be read in a double-blind process by a committee of AES members. The committee members will be identified when the prizewinner is announced. The next deadline will be announced in fall 2021.


The Elsie Clews Parsons Prize for the best graduate student essay began around 1970 and is symbolized by a silver medallion made by a Hopi silversmith. The original design of this medallion utilizes a spider symbol common to Hopi pottery design.