The Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion seeks to encourage excellence in the anthropology of religion by recognizing an outstanding recent book in the field. The Prize is named in honor of the late Professor Clifford Geertz, in recognition of his many distinguished contributions to the anthropological study of religion. In awarding the Prize, the Society hopes to foster innovative scholarship, the integration of theory with ethnography, and the connection of the anthropology of religion to the larger world.
Any single-authored or co-authored book focusing on the anthropology of religion, broadly defined, is eligible for the Prize. Edited volumes, textbooks, and reference works are not eligible, nor are works in which religion is a secondary subject. The book’s author need not be an anthropologist by profession, but the work should draw on and respond to research and theory within the anthropology of religion. For the 2021 Prize competition, nominated books must have a publication date of 2018 or later. Books that have already been reviewed for the Prize will not be reconsidered. Books may be entered into the competition by authors, book editors, or colleagues. No formal letter of nomination is needed.
- Read the 2021 Geertz Prize announcement here.
- Read the 2020 Geertz Prize announcement here.
- Read the 2019 Geertz Prize announcement here.
- To see the 2018 winner and honorable mentions, click here.
Recent Recipients of the Geertz Prize
- 2017. Religion in the Kitchen: Cooking, Talking, and the Making of Black Atlantic Traditions (NYU Press, 2016) by Elizabeth Pérez.
- 2016. Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report (Princeton University Press, 2015) by Saba Mahmood.
- 2015. Given to the Goddess: South Indian Devadasis and the Sexuality of Religion (Duke University Press, 2014) by Lucinda Ramberg.
- 2014. The Cooking of History: How Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion (University of Chicago Press, 2013) by Stephan Palmié.
- 2013. Discipline and Debate The Language of Violence in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery (University of California Press, 2012) by Michael Lempert.
- 2012. Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility and the Politics of Destination in China (Duke University Press, 2010) by Julie Chu.
- 2011. Dreams That Matter: Egyptian Landscapes of the Imagination (University of California Press, 2011) by Amira Mittermaier.
- 2010. The Edge of Islam: Power, Personhood, and Ethnoreligious Boundaries on the Kenyan Coast (Duke University Press, 2009) by Janet McIntosh.
- 2009. Travels with Tooy: History, Memory, and the African American Imagination (University of Chicago Press, 2007) by Richard Price.
- 2008. A Problem of Presence: Beyond Scripture in an African Church (University of California Press, 2007) by Matthew Engelke.
- 2007. After the Massacre: Commemoration and Consolation in Ha My and My Lai (University of California Press, 2006) by Heonik Kwon.
Recent Geertz Prize Honorable Mentions
- 2017. African Pentecostals in Catholic Europe: The Politics of Presence in the Twenty-first Century (Harvard University Press, 2016) by Annalisa Butticci.
- 2017. Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait (Duke University Press, 2017) by Attiya Ahmad.
- 2016. Rebranding Islam: Piety, Prosperity, and a Self-Help Guru (Stanford University Press, 2015) by James Hoesterey.
- 2015. The Empty Seashell: Witchcraft and Doubt on an Indonesian Island (Cornell University Press, 2014) by Nils Bubant.
- 2014. The Calls of Islam: Sufis, Islamists, and Mass Mediation in Urban Morocco (Indiana University Press, 2013) by Emilio Spadola.
- 2013. Our Bodies Belong to God Organ Transplants, Islam, and the Struggle for Human Dignity in Egypt (University of California Press, 2012) by Sherine Hamdy.
- 2012. Stambeli: Music, Trance and Alterity in Tunisia (University of Chicago Press, 2010) by Richard C. Jankowsky.
- 2010. The Old Faith and the Russian Land: A Historical Ethnography of Ethics in the Urals (Cornell University Press, 2009) by Douglas Rogers.