About the Award
Abstract submissions for the 2013 Rappaport Prize are due March 1, 2013. Questions regarding 2013 submissions can be directed to James Igoe.
Each year, the Anthropology & Environment Section of AAA selects up to five graduate students to present a paper at the AAA meetings. One student will be awarded the Rappaport Student Prize, which includes a $250 cash award. All five panelists (including the Prize winner) will receive partial support for travel to the AAA meetings. All of the selected panelists will be encouraged and guided by the A&E Board to pursue publication in relevant journals.
Those selected to present in the Discussion Panel will write a full, article-length (up to 8000 words) papers. Consideration for the Rappaport Prize will be based on these papers. The papers should be written with the expectation that they will ultimately be submitted for publication.
A&E members and audience will participate in a discussion after the paper presentations. The Rappaport Prize winner, selected from among the panelists, will be announced at the A&E Business Meeting.
The Rappaport Prize and Panel is part of an effort to improve the mentoring process for graduate students as they pursue A&E related careers. Participating provides an opportunity for students to receive constructive feedback on their work by junior and senior scholars in the A&E community.
Selection for participation in the Rappaport AAA session will be based on the abstract submitted. The abstract (a maximum of 500 words) should present a brief summary of the entire paper. This should include, very briefly, a statement of the problem being investigated, methods undertaken, the results of the study, the theoretical context in which it is being evaluated, and the significance of the research. Abstracts that include the above information will receive full consideration. Final selection will be based on the panel´s expert judgment, including the originality of the research and the author’s analysis, as well as the contribution to the field of environmental anthropology.
The selection of the recipient of the Rappaport Prize will be based on evaluation of the full paper (a maximum of 8000 words, including notes and bibliography) submitted to the judges prior to the AAA and on the quality of the presentation at the AAA. Judges will evaluate originality, contribution to the field, writing style appropriate to a journal manuscript for submission, presentation style appropriate for a professional meeting, and their own expert judgment in making their determination of the winner.
After the AAA session, all panel members will be offered mentoring assistance in revising their papers for publication.
**NOTE: A&E award committees follow NSF guidelines regarding potential conflict of interest between applicants and reviewers.**
2011 Roy A. Rappaport Prize
The 2011 Roy A. Rappaport Prize was awarded to:
- Ms. Kristina Lyons, University of California, Davis for her paper: Soil Science, Development and the “Elusive Nature” of Colombia’s Amazonian Plains
Since 2000, the U.S.-Colombia “War on Drugs” has relied on the eradication of coca crops and their substitution by market-oriented licit ones as a central strategy to secure “rule of law” in conflict-ridden regions of Colombia. In this context, Amazonian soils have emerged as an important actor. Their productive capacities and contested governance are central to the possibility of securing ‘development’ in the countryside. On the one hand, state soil scientists are enlisted to engender a classifiable entity whose definition makes it emerge from productivity; good soils are thickly productive, market oriented and an entity that can be improved after human action. On the other hand, a growing group of farmers in the department of Putumayo engage in agricultural practices where soils are less of an object and more of an entanglement of life-sustaining relations. With ethnographic engagement on farms in Putumayo and in laboratories and government offices in Bogotá, this paper offers insights into the ways that “local” and “scientific” definitions of and practices with soils are able (or unable) to be placed in symmetry. It analyzes the challenges that soil scientists face in their attempts to bring about a fixed object of study with a corresponding “productive” potential. Furthermore, it argues that Amazonian soils not only place pressure on state classification systems and their human agents, but may also reveal the limits of development imperatives where “production” is premised on a deep-seeded divide between “nature” and “culture”.
The other four finalists were:
- Mr. Shaozeng Zhang, University of California, Irvine: Valuing the Amazon Forest through Carbon Markets
- Ms. Rheana (Juno) Parrenas, Harvard University: The “Slow Violence” of Nostalgia: Wildlife Centers, Corporatized Conservation, and the Human-Animal Interface of Loss.
This paper shows how indigenous human and endangered animal agents in Sarawak are brought together through their displacement from the forest. By investigating the conditions of displacement as evidenced in the problem of ethnic Iban orangutan caretakers striving to ‘get food on the table’ as conveyed by the usage of the Malay idiom, ‘cari makan,’ and the problem of frequent forced copulation or ‘rape’ among rehabilitant orangutans, I argue that habitat loss produces new kinds of human and animal subjects through new kinds of structural violence. Pragmatically, this article asserts that rehabilitation efforts to save a species from extinction by prioritizing reproduction instead of quality of life leads to a harmful life for those in rehabilitation. Conceptually, it shows how forest-dwelling animals are subjects that are subjected to the same problems of displacement, development, and others’ nostalgia as the historically forest-dwelling Iban people who are employed to handle them. It calls for understanding the production of environmental subjectivities through loss. This paper is a chapter from her dissertation, “Arrested Autonomy: An Ethnography of Orangutan Rehabilitation,” which investigates concepts and practices of care, independence, and mutual vulnerability that occur in encounters taking place at Malaysian wildlife centers between endangered, semi-wild orangutans and the situated people who come to care for them.
- Mr. David Kneas, Yale University: Of Porphyries and Peripheries: The History and Culture of Mineral Resources in the Ecuadorian Andes
- Mr. Alex Blanchette, The University of Chicago: “The Political Ecology of the Herd”: Biosecurity and the American Factory Farm
This paper tracks the emergence of a series of biosecurity protocols as they come to structure everyday life in a 100-mile radius “company region” on the U.S. High Plains, one where seven million corporate-owned pigs are annually manufactured from pre-life to post-death. As this industrial animal herd genetically ages and becomes more prone to costly diseases, managers are being forced to find new ways to see and monitor vectors of transmission across the landscape. This has resulted in new visions of the region’s natural ecology, but it has also led to the need to discipline diverse groups of workers’ hygiene, living arrangements, and sociality. This essay is one part of a larger workplace-based ethnographic dissertation on the contemporary factory farm, eco-capitalism, and the politics of industrialization in an allegedly post-industrial United States.
Thank you to the 2011 panel judges, Drs. Amelia Moore, Andrew Mathews, and Michael Ennis-McMillan, and to Drs. Laura Ogden, Justin Nolan, and Katja Neves-Graca for serving as judges for the abstracts.
Past Roy A. Rappaport Prize Winners
- 11th Award given to SARAH BESKY (Wisconsin) for her paper, Garden Variety Kinship: Shifting Moral Economies, Nostalgia, and Relationships of Care on Darjeeling Tea Plantations.
- Finalists: Sean Downey, Georgina Drew, Megan Ybarra, Austin Zeiderman
- 10th Award given to NIKHIL ANAND (Stanford) for his paper, On Good Water, Social Systems and Their Leaky State.
- Finalists: Jessica Barnes, Lesley L. Daspit, Maria Alejandra Perez, and James Stinson
- 9th Award given to EIAL DUJOVNY for his paper, The Deepest Cut: Political Ecology and Marginalization in the Dredging of a New Sea Mouth at Chillika Lake, India.
- Finalists: Gunra Aistars, Cindy Eisenhour, Yu Wang, Troy Wilson
- 9th Award given to SARAH HUNT for her paper, Ecosystem Science and Engineering and the Anthropology of Trouble.
- 8th Award given to THOMAS PEARSON for his paper, Biosafety, Anti-biotechnology Movements, and the Management of Life in Central America.
- 7th Award given to MICHAEL HATHAWAY (Michigan) for his paper, Conservation as Development: Transnational Projects in SW China.
- 6th Award given to JILL CONSTANTINO (Michigan) for her paper, The ‘Wild West’ of the Pacific: Peopling and Depeopling the Galapagos Islands.
- 5th Award given to ALISON BIDWELL PEARCE (Stanford) for her paper, The Good, the Bad, and the Human: Confronting Our True Selves in Conservation.
- No award given in 2002.
- 4th Award given to ANNE RADEMACHER (Yale) for her paper, Past, Present, and Future Ecologies: Constructing Degradation and Restoration on the Bagmati and Bishnumati Rivers in Katmandu.
- 3rd Award given to ROBERT PORRO.
- 2nd Award given to LORETTA ANN CORMIER for her paper, Monkey as Food, Monkey as Child: Symbolic Cannibalism of the Guaja of Maranhao, Brazil, and MARSHA BROFKA for her paper, A Place for Class In Environmental Discourse.
- 1st Award given to MELISSA CHECKER (NYU) for her paper, It’s In the Air: Organizing for Environmental Equity in a Multi-Ethnic Coalition.