Prizes & Awards

Franz Boas Award for Exemplary Service to Anthropology

The Franz Boas Award for Exemplary Service to Anthropology, formerly the Distinguished Service Award, was established in 1976. This award is presented annually by the Association to its members whose careers demonstrate extraordinary achievements that have well served the anthropological profession. Service to the Association is commonly recognized, as are outstanding applications of anthropological knowledge to improving the human condition. Great teachers of anthropology at all levels have received this award. Although the activities of the recipients will vary from year to year, all awardees have made many sacrifices, usually without personal reward, and sometimes against personal safety. They have all used anthropology for the benefit of others.

The call for nominees is below. The awardee(s) are recommended by the Awards Committee and chosen by the Executive Board at its spring meeting. The awardee(s) are given a citation at the annual meeting.

Call for Franz Boas Award for Exemplary Service to Anthropology

Boas Award Call for Nominations AAA is pleased to announce the call for nominations for the Franz Boas Award for Exemplary Service to Anthropology (formerly the Distinguished Service Award). Established in 1976, the Boas Award recognizes Association members who have made exceptional contributions to anthropology with respect to the increase and dissemination of humanistic and scientific knowledge and/or service to the profession. This is your opportunity to recognize members and colleagues who have contributed significantly to the field of anthropology. The Association relies on you for nominations. Please take advantage of this opportunity.

Guidelines for the Preparation and Submission of AAA Award Nomination Materials

Each nomination packet should include a letter of recommendation in support of the nominee. The letter should provide a summary of the nominee's accomplishments, and it should demonstrate (not merely assert) the nominee's qualifications. The packet should include supporting materials, which should not be expected to stand on their own. In other words, these materials should support the case being made in the nomination letter, demonstrating its assertions. The nomination packet should not exceed 25 pages. Please note that nominees are considered for three years. Those not chosen in the first year will be considered for two more years. If desired, nomination packets can be updated by March 1 each year, or nominations can be withdrawn from consideration.

  1. The nominee's accomplishments should be contextualized and put into perspective. Depending upon the award in question, one may want to address the following types of questions:
  2. Where does the nominee's work fit within the discipline? What is its significance?
  3. What is the extent of the nominee's work and its impact on the field? On students? On the general public? On other disciplines?
  4. How does the particular book or work upon which the nominee's recommendation is based demonstrate excellence: conceptually, in terms of impact, creativity, and influence?

Electronic submissions to are encouraged or submit 6 copies of the materials to: AAA Awards Committee, AAA, 2300 Clarendon Blvd, Suite 1301, Arlington,VA 22201; 703/528-1902 ext 1161; fax: 703/528-3546.

Note deadline for nominations March 1 each year.

For further information, or to submit a nomination, contact Kathy Ano at


2014 Awardee

Michael Silverstein

Previous Awardees

2013 Louise Lamphere
2012 Sidney Mintz
2010 Ralph Bolton
2009 Jane Hill
2008 George Armelagos
2006  Richard Ford, Nancy O. Lurie
2005  Regna Darnell
2004  Elliott Skinner
2003  H. Russell Bernard
2002  Jim Peacock
2001  Arthur Kleinman
1999  Sydel F. Silverman
1998  George W. Stocking, Jr.
1997  Annette Weiner
1996  Barbara E. Harrell-Bond, Patty Jo Watson
1995  June Nash
1994  Benjamin D. Paul, Walter Goldschmidt
1993  Claude Lévi-Strauss
1992  Douglas Schwartz, Charles Leslie
1991  Beatrice Medicine, Clyde C. Snow
1990  Fred Eggan, Priscilla Reining
1989  Paul T. Baker, John W. Bennett
1988  David H. French, David and Pia Maybury-Lewis
1987  Harold E. Driver, Mary Green Seymour
1986  J. Lawrence Angel, Frederica de Laguna, Ward H. Goodenough
1985  David P. Boynton, Katherine Dunham, Helen Fisher, Pearl E. Primus
1984  Ashley Montagu, Philleo Nash, B. Irving Rouse, Thomas A. Sebeok
1983  William N. Fenton, Charles and Florence Voegelin
1982  Sherwood L. Washburn, John and Beatrice Whiting
1980  George M. Foster, Raymond H. Thompson
1979  John O. Brew, Frederick Johnson, Philip Sapir, Edward H. Spicer
1978  William W. Howells, Nathalie F. S. Woodbury
1977  Bela Maday, Sol Tax
1976  Margaret Mead, Lita Osmundsen