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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.

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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.

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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.

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