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Stirling Prize for Best Published Work in Psychological Anthropology

The Stirling Award is awarded to a previously published work (article or book, in alternate years) that makes an outstanding contribution to any area of psychological anthropology.

The Stirling Award was originally established in 1968 by Rebecca and Gene Stirling. Winners of this prestigious award recognizing the best published work in psychological anthropology become members of the selection committee for a three-year rotation.

Unpublished manuscripts, dissertations, and web publications are not eligible. Edited volumes are not eligible for the book prize, but individual chapters may be submitted for the article prize. There are separate rules for nomination of books and articles; please consult the relevant rules below.

2020 Stirling Prize Competition for the Best Published Book in Psychological Anthropology

Books published within 2019 -2020, including those scheduled for publication later in the year, are eligible for consideration. Edited volumes are not eligible. Multi-authored volumes will be considered. Nominations may be made by the author or another party, as well as by the selection committee. If not self-nominated, nominators must be active members of the American Anthropological Association. The nominator must arrange to have a hard copy of the work sent directly to all three members of the selection committee. Nominations must include a cover letter outlining the work’s contribution to the field of psychological anthropology. All materials must be received no later than July 10, 2020. 

The cover letter may be sent together with the hard copy of the book or e-mailed separately to all three members of the selection committee. Please email Elizabeth Carpenter-Song ([email protected]) for mailing addresses for submission of hard copy books. The email subject line must read: “SPA Stirling Prize Address.” If e-mailed, the subject line must read: “SPA Stirling Prize Submission.” Submissions that do not include a cover letter will not be reviewed. The winner will be announced at the SPA’s 2021 Biennial Meeting, and will receive a $250 prize.

Any questions regarding the prize can be directed to SPA’s Secretary, Elizabeth Carpenter-Song: [email protected]. All Prize and selection committees abide by the SPA’s Conflict of Interest Statement and Recusal Policy.

Book nominations and cover letters may be sent to the following committee members:

Jason DeCaro (Chair)
[email protected]

Naomi Leite
[email protected]

Merav Shohet
[email protected]

 Past Stirling Prize Winners
2019 Nicholas Long, Ph.D., for his article published in Ethos (2018, Volume 46), “Suggestions of Power: Searching for Efficacy in Indonesia’s Hypnosis Boom.”
2018Naomi Leite, Unorthodox Kin: Portuguese Marranos and the Global Search for Belonging, UC Press, 2017.
2017Rebecca Lester, Self-governance, psychotherapy, and the subject of managed care: Internal Family Systems therapy and the multiple self in a US eating-disorders treatment center. American Ethnologist, 44: 23–35. doi:10.1111/amet.12423
2016Julia Cassaniti, Living Buddhism: Mind, Self and Emotion in a Thai Community
2015Kristin Yarris, "'Pensado mucho' ('Thinking too much')": Embodied distress among grandmothers in Nicaraguan transnational families," Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 38: 473-498, 2014.
2014Geoffrey Saxe, Cultural Development of Mathematical Ideas: Papua New Guinea Studies (University of Cambridge Press)
2013Talia Weiner, "The (Un)managed Self: Paradoxical Forms of Agency in Self-Management of Bipolar Disorder," Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, 35(4): 448-483, 2011.
2012Cheryl Mattingly, The Paradox of Hope: Journeys through a Clinical Borderland (University of California Press)
2011Anand Pandian, "Interior Horizons: An Ethical Space of Selfhood in South India," Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 16(1): 64-83, 2010.
2010Elly Teman, Birthing a Mother: The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self  (University of California Press)
2009 Rebecca Lester "Brokering Authenticity: Borderline Personality Disorder and the Ethics of Care at an American Eating Disorder Clinic," Current Anthropology 50(3), 2009.
Angela Garcia, "The Elegiac Addict: History, Chronicity, and the Melancholic Subject," Cultural Anthropology 23(4): 718-746, 2008.
2008Alex Hinton, Why Did They Kill?: Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide, University of California Press, 2005
2007Everett Yuehong Zhang, "Rethinking Sexual Repression in Maoist China: Ideology, Structure, and the Ownership of the Body," Body and Society 11(3): 1-25, 2005.
2006Joao Biehl, Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment, University of California Press, 2005
2005Susan Seymour, "Multiple Caretaking of Infants and Young Children: An Area in Critical Need of a Feminist Psychological Anthropology," Ethos 32 (4:) 416-413, 2004.
2004no prize awarded
2003**Carmella Moore, Kim Romney, and Ti-Lien Hsia, "Cultural, Gender, and Individual Differences in Perceptual and Semantic Structures of Basic Colors in Chinese and English," Journal of Cognition and Culture, 2(1): 1-28, 2002
2002no prize awarded
2001no prize awarded
2000no prize awarded
1999 Linda Garro, "Remembering what one knows and the construction of the past: a comparison of cultural consensus theory and cultural schema theory," Ethos 28: 275-319, 2000.
1998no prize awarded
1997Yoram Bilu and Yehuda C. Goodman
1996no prize awarded
1995*Christopher Boehm, "Egalitarian behavior and reverse dominance hierarchy" Current Anthropology 34: 227-254, 1993
1994no prize awarded
1993Begoña Aretxaga
1992Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson, "Immanuel Kant among the Tenejapans: anthropology as empirical philosophy," Ethos 22(1):3-41 1994
1991Steve Derné, "Beyond institutional and impulsive conceptions of self: family structure and the socially anchored real self," Ethos 20(3):259-88
1990Janis Jenkins, "Anthropology, Expressed Emotion, and Schizophrenia," Ethos 19: 387-431, 1991
1989Charles W. Nuckolls, "Culture and Causal Thinking: Diagnosis and Prediction in a South Indian Fishing Village," Ethos 19(1):3-51, 1991
1988Thomas J. Csordas and Thomas Gregor
1987Dennis B. McGilvray
1986T. M. Luhrmann, The magic of secrecy," Ethos 17(2):131-166, 1989
1985Nancy Scheper-Hughes
1984Lila Abu-Lughod
1983Claudia Strauss, "Beyond 'formal' vs. 'informal' education: Uses of psychological theory in anthropological research," Ethos 12(3):195-222, 1984
1982no prize awarded
1981no prize awarded
1980Catherine Lutz
1979William W. Dressler
1978Susan Abbot and Ruben Klein, "Depression and Anxiety among Rural Kikuyu in Kenya"
1977Geoffrey White
1976Lorraine Kirk and Michael Burton
1975Nancy G. Graves and Theodore D. Graves
1974Charlene Bolton, Ralph Bolton, Carol Michelson and Jeffrey Wilde
1973no prize awarded
1972Ralph Bolton
1971Theodore Graves
1970Carolyn Henning Brown
1969James P. Spradley
1968Victor Barnouw
** prize redefined as best published work
* after 1995, the prize is offered on a biennial basis