GAD Prize for Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship Winners
The General Anthropology Division (GAD) has long supported innovative scholarship that transcends the seemingly all too rigid boundaries that divide the various fields of anthropology.
The Cross-Field Award is awarded annually by GAD for a peer-reviewed journal article published in the preceding three years that demonstrates exemplary scholarship from any theoretical or methodological perspective including applied research that transcends two or more fields of anthropology, broadly construed, or is interdisciplinary in nature. The Award carries an honorarium of $1000.
Winner: Lila Abu-Lughod
Lila Abu-Lughod (Columbia University) is the 2021 winner of the GAD Prize for Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship for her article, “Imagining Palestine’s Alter-Natives: Settler Colonialism and Museum Politics” (2020) in Critical Inquiry 47 (Autumn): 1-27.
This essay is an anthropologist’s reflections on Palestine’s political impasses in relation to the experiences of other colonized places and people. It was inspired by the current ferment in critical indigenous and native studies, and now Palestinian studies, around the framework of settler colonialism. Tracing the promises and pitfalls of new imaginations of sovereignty and self-determination emerging through indigenous activism—in contrast to the previous forms of anti-colonial nationalism—the essay reflects on museum politics and contested rituals of liberal recognition in North America and Australia to highlight both the stark differences in the situations of Palestinians under Israeli rule and the radical significance of the efflorescence of Palestinian cultural projects. Focusing particularly on the history of the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit that was conceived in 1999 but opened in 2016, the essay argues that the productivity of the settler colonial framework may lie in the new solidarities it engenders and its potential to burst open the Palestinian political imagination. Recent debates about the ethics of repatriation from colonial museums, for example, suggest new ways that a Palestinian museum could challenge Israeli rule by highlighting state appropriation of archeological heritage.
Honorable Mention: Tanja Ahlin
Tanja Ahlin (University of Amsterdam) receives an Honorable Mention in the competition for the GAD Prize for Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship for her article, “Only Near Is Dear? Doing Elderly Care with Everyday ICTs in Indian Transnational Families” (2017) in Medical Anthropology Quarterly 32(1): 85-102.
Ahlin’s work reveals that in Kerala, South India, young people, especially women, are encouraged to become nurses in order to migrate abroad for work and thereby improve the financial status of their family. Meanwhile, many of their parents remain in India by themselves. This is occurring in the context of a strong popular discourse of elder abandonment, related to the local norms of intergenerational co-habitation. Based on her fieldwork in Kerala, and one of the nurses’ destination countries, Oman, Ahlin presents evidence that complicates this discourse by showing how: (1) migration is a form of elder care practice in itself; and (2) care for the elderly continues across countries and continents with the help of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Using the theoretical approaches of science and technology studies, she analyzes ICTs as key members of care collectives and argues that ICTs have a significant role in reshaping care relations at a distance.
Ivan Sandoval-Cervantes is the 2020 winner of the GAD Prize for Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship for his article “Uncertain Futures: The Unfinished Houses of Undocumented Migrants in Oaxaca, Mexico” (2017), in American Anthropologist, Vol. 119, Issue. 2 (2017), pp. 209–222.
Sandoval-Cervantes analyzes the relationship between undocumented migration, materiality, and family that cross national borders, focusing on houses that are built by transnational migrants in their hometown of Zegache, in Oaxaca, Mexico. Robustly grounded in cross-national ethnographic research that spans from Oregon to Oaxaca, the article crosses cultural anthropology, archaeology, and architecture and speaks to contemporary studies of transnational migration, kinship, materiality and affect. Elegantly written, with theoretical discussion closely informed by the ethnography, the work examines house construction and abandonment to show the affective dimensions of undocumented migration in the current (and ongoing) political climate. Sandoval-Cervantes highlights houses as active and fundamental agents in the negotiation of change, reinterpreting artifacts and meanings to unveil their cultural significance for members of this community.
Gabrielle Hecht is this year’s winner of the GAD Prize for Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship for her article “Interscalar Vehicles for an African Anthropocene: On Waste, Temporality, and Violence,” in Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 33, Issue 1 (2018), pp. 109–141.
Hecht takes on the scalar enormity of the Anthropocene—a new geologic time period marked by human impact on the Earth over millennia—in an analysis of uranium mining in Gabon. Hecht conceives of “interscalar vehicles” (such as uranium- bearing rocks) as a way to connect disparate scales and stories. Approaching the “Anthropocene as the apotheosis of waste,” she seeks to remind us of the violence associated with this waste and the fact it is not merely planetary but has differentiated impacts on particular places, lives, and bodies. Arguing that scalar choices are both analytical and political, the essay holds both aspects in productive tension by looking at the scalar claims of historical actors and projects. In making their selection, the Awards Committee noted the article’s timeliness, broad theoretical sweep, and interdisciplinary span of anthropology, science and technology studies, and environmental studies.
2018 Tatiana Chudakova for “Plant Matters: Buddhist Medicine and Economies of Attention in Postsocialist Siberia,” American Ethnologist vol. 44, no. 2 (2017), pp. 341–354.
2017 Rachel Carmen Ceasar for “How I Learned to Love the Bomb: Excavating Pueblo Politics, Love, and Salvaged Technologies after Conflict,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute vol. 22, no. 3 (2016), p. 570-590.
2016 Radhika Govindrajan for “‘The Goat That Died for Family’: Animal Sacrifice and Interspecies Kinship in India’s Central Himalayas,” American Ethnologist 42.3 (2015): 504-19.
2015 Noah Tamarkin for “Genetic Diaspora: Producing Knowledge of Genes and Jews in Rural South Africa,” Cultural Anthropology, vol. 29, issue 3, pp. 552-574.
2014 Charles Briggs for “Dear Dr. Freud,” Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 29, Issue 2, pp. 312-43
2013 Juno Rheana Parrenas for “Producing Affect: Transnational Volunteerism in a Malaysian Orangutan Rehabilitation Center,” American Ethnologist 2013, 39(4):241-262
2013 Runner-up Duana Fullwiley for “Revaluating Genetic Causation: Biology, Economy, and Kinship in Dakar, Senegal,” American Ethnologist 2010, 37(4):638-661
2012 Jonathan Marks for “What is the Viewpoint of Hemoglobin, and Does it Matter?” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 2009, 31:241-262
2011 Kathy Weedman-Arthur for “Feminine Knowledge and Skill Reconsidered: Women and Flaked Stone Tools,” American Anthropologist, 112(2): 228–243.
Honorable Mention: Zoe Crossland for “Of Clues and Signs: The Dead Body and its Evidential Traces” American Anthropologist. 2009. 111(1): 69-80.
2010 David J. Hess for “Crosscurrents: Social Movements and the Anthropology of Science and Technology,” American Anthropologist, 109(3): 463–472.
Honorable Mention: Pamela L. Geller for “Bodyscapes, Biology, and Heteronormativity,” American Anthropologist, 111(4): 504-516.
2009 Michael M. J. Fischer for “Four Cultural Genealogies for A Recombinant Anthropology of Science and Technology Studies” Cultural Anthropology, 22(3): 539-614.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Birth for “Time and the Biological Consequences of Globalization.” Current Anthropology. 2007. 48(2):215-226, 232-236.
2008 Ron Eglash, et al for “Culturally Situated Design Tools: Ethnocomputing from Field Site to Classroom”, American Anthropologist, Vol. 108, No. 2. (2006), pp. 347-362.
Honorable Mention: Naomi Quinn for “The Self.” Anthropological Theory. 2006. 6(3): 362-384.