2018 Geertz Prize Open for Nominations

 The Society for the Anthropology of Religion 

A section of the American Anthropological Association 

announces the 2018 juried competition for the

CLIFFORD GEERTZ PRIZE 

IN THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF RELIGION 

The Geertz Prize 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.

Eligibility 

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. Books must have a publication date of 2016 or later. Books that have already been reviewed for the Prize will not be reconsidered.

The prize will be awarded at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in November 2018.

Submission guidelines 

To receive additional information on how to submit a book for consideration, please send a flyer or an abstract about the book to [email protected] Deadline for submission of books is 30 April 2018.

JoAnn D’Alisera

Chair, 2018 Geertz Prize Committee

2017 Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion was proud to award the following prize at the 116th AAA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.:

The Clifford Geertz Prize Award

IN THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF RELIGION

The Geertz Prize 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. For more information about the award and a list of previous winners and honorable mentions, please visit http://sar.americananthro.org/index.php/activities/geertz/

 

First Prize

Elizabeth Pérez

Religion in the Kitchen: Cooking, Talking, and the Making of Black Atlantic Traditions

(NYU Press 2016)

Timothy Landry presenting Elizabeth Pérez with the 2017 Geertz Prize. Photo by Stephen Selka.

Honorable Mentions

Annalisa Butticci

African Pentecostals in Catholic Europe: The Politics of Presence in the Twenty-first Century

(Harvard University Press 2016)

 

Attiya Ahmad

Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait

(Duke University Press 2017)

 

CONGRATULATIONS to these scholars for
continuing to improve the anthropology of religion!

2017 Geertz Prize open for nominations

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion

a section of the American Anthropological Association

announces the 2017 juried competition for the

CLIFFORD GEERTZ PRIZE

IN THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF RELIGION

The Geertz Prize 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.

Eligibility

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. Books must have a publication date of 2015 or later. Books that have already been reviewed for the Prize will not be reconsidered.

The prize will be awarded at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in November, 2017.

Submission guidelines

To receive additional information on how to submit a book for consideration, please send a flyer or an abstract about the book to Hillary Kaell at [email protected] Deadline for submission of books is April 30, 2017.

A pdf of this call for nominations can be found here.

Hillary Kaell

Chair, 2017 Geertz Prize Committee

Board Member, Society for the Anthropology of Religion

2016 Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion

2016 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion and Honorable Mention

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion was proud to award the following prize at the 115th AAA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis:

The Clifford Geertz Prize Award

IN THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF RELIGION

The Geertz Prize 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. For more information about the award and a list of previous winners and honorable mentions, please visit http://sar.americananthro.org/activities/geertz/.

First Prize:

Saba Mahmood

Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report

(Princeton University Press 2015)

Honorable Mention:

James Hoesterey 

Rebranding Islam: Piety, Prosperity, and a Self-Help Guru

(Stanford University Press 2015)

In addition to the winner and runner-up titles, the Society for the Anthropology of Religion recognized the following four books as finalists for the 2016 Clifford Geertz Prize:

Shahab Ahmed 2015. What is Islam? The Importance of Being Islamic. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Yolanda Covington-Ward 2015. Gesture and Power: Religion, Nationalism, and Everyday Performance in Congo. Durham: Duke University Press.

Valentina Napolitano 2015. Migrant Hearts and the Atlantic Return: Transnationalism and the Roman Catholic Church. New York: Fordham University Press.

Bhrigupati Singh 2015. Poverty and the Quest for Life: Spiritual and Material Striving in Rural India. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

CONGRATULATIONS to these scholars for continuing to improve the anthropology of religion!

2016 Geertz Prize open for nominations

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion

a section of the American Anthropological Association

announces the 2016 juried competition for the

CLIFFORD GEERTZ PRIZE

IN THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF RELIGION

The Geertz Prize 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.

Eligibility

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. Books must have a publication date of 2014 or later. Books that have already been reviewed for the Prize will not be reconsidered.

The prize will be awarded at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in November, 2016.

Submission guidelines

To receive additional information on how to submit a book for consideration, please send a flyer or an abstract about the book to Jonathan Hill at [email protected]. Deadline for submission of books is March 31, 2016.

A pdf of this call for nominations can be found here.

Jonathan D. Hill

Chair, 2016 Geertz Prize Committee

2015 Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion

2015 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion and Honorable Mention

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion was proud to award the following prize at the 114th AAA Annual Meeting in Denver:

The Clifford Geertz Prize Award

IN THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF RELIGION

The Geertz Prize 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. For more information about the award and a list of previous winners and honorable mentions, please visit http://sar.americananthro.org/activities/geertz/.

First Prize:

Lucinda Ramberg

Given to the Goddess: South Indian Devadasis and the Sexuality of Religion

(Duke University Press 2014)

Honorable Mention:

Nils Bubandt 

The Empty Seashell: Witchcraft and Doubt on an Indonesian Island

(Cornell University Press 2014)

 

In addition to the winner and runner-up titles, the Society for the Anthropology of Religion recognized the following four books as finalists for the 2015 Clifford Geertz Prize:

David Chidester 2014. Empire of Religion: Imperialism and Comparative Religion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Mayanthi Fernando 2014. The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Smadar Lavie 2014. Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture. New York: Berghahn Books.

Kevin Lewis O’Neill 2015. Secure the Soul: Christian Piety and Gang Prevention in Guatemala. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

CONGRATULATIONS to these scholars for continuing to improve the anthropology of religion!

Ramberg Winner 2015 2 Ramberg Winner 2015 3 Ramberg Winner 2015 Bubant Runner Up 2015

2015 Geertz Prize open for nominations

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion would like to announce our annual juried competition for the Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion. The Geertz Prize 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. Books must have a publication date of 2013 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.

The Prize will be awarded at SAR’s business meeting at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting in November, 2015.

To receive additional information on how to submit a book for consideration, please send a flyer about the book to Jonathan Hill, Chair of the Geertz Prize Committee (email: jhill “at” siu “dot” edu). The deadline for submission of books is March 31, 2015.

A pdf of the call for nominations is available for download here.

2014 Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion

2014 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion and Honorable Mention

The SAR is pleased to announce the winner of the eighth annual Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion: Stephan Palmié’s The Cooking of History: Hot Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion (University of Chicago Press, 2013). Honorable mention is awarded to Emilio Spadola for The Calls of Islam: Sufis, Islamists, and Mass Mediation in Urban Morocco (Indiana University Press, 2013).

Following a rigorous competition, the SAR Prize Jury and prize coordinator are pleased to award the Clifford Geertz prize that celebrates innovative recent books that integrate theory with ethnography and that connect the anthropology of religion to the larger world.

The runner-up in the 2014 Clifford Geertz Prize competition is Emilio Spadola’s The Calls of Islam: Sufis, Islamists, and Mass Mediation in Urban Morocco. The Calls of Islam is a highly original and accessible book on the multiple, concurrent calls of/to Islam in Morocco and in particular on how Sufism has been appropriated by the Moroccan state. Spadola shows how mass mediation has affected structures of piety, authority, and power.

The book is rich in ethnographic and historical detail. The focus on mediation offers fresh theoretical contributions to the anthropology of Islam by arguing against the singular pious body and instead for the “breached” collective body as an effect of the force of communication. The Calls of Islam beautifully fleshes out an interpretation of the call to worship as a communicative mode that generates difference as much as coherence.

The Calls of Islam gives a new and innovative perspective on Islam and manages to introduce the field of media theory to these issues in an accessible and insightful fashion. The book also provides a very sensitive and theoretically sophisticated approach to the controversy involving Sufism.

The winner of the 2014 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion is Stephan Palmié’s The Cooking of History: How Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion. Palmié’s book is a rich, fascinating and powerful rethinking of the ethnographic object “Afro-Cuban Religion” that situates the concept in transnational dynamics and discourses, as well as in the inter- and intra-national, ethnic and racial politics that produced the understandings of, and debates over, “Afro-Cuban religions” that dominate both anthropological and practitioners’ understandings today. Palmié’s detailed reconstruction of anthropological agency, and the relations between anthropological and practitioners’ agencies, in the construction of Afro-Cuban religion (and knowledge about it) implies a broader  rethinking of religion and the ways that anthropologists conceive of and study it overall.

The Cooking of History is a major contribution to the anthropology of religion and a theoretical tour de force written with much wit. The book’s quick, spirited, and witty prose ensures that it will be influential in anthropology as a whole. Well researched, theoretically sharp, and astutely reflexive, the exercise of detailing the historical construction of Afro-Cuban religion has never been done with such care. The manner in which Palmié carries out this exercise could surely serve as a model for others.

Congratulations both to 2014 Clifford Geertz Prize winner Stephan Palmié and to Emilio Spadola.

2014 Geertz Prize open for nominations

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion would like to announce our annual juried competition for the Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion. The Geertz Prize 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. Books must have a publication date of 2012 or later. Books that have already been reviewed for the Prize will not be reconsidered.

The prize will be awarded at SAR’s business meeting at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting in November, 2014.

To receive additional information on how to submit a book for consideration, please send a flyer about the book to Jonathan Hill, Chair of the Geertz Prize Committee (email: jhill “at” siu “dot” edu).

A pdf of the call for nominations is available for download here.

2013 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion

2013 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion and Honorable Mention

The SAR is pleased to announce the winner of the seventh annual Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion: Michael Lempert’s Discipline and Debate: The Language of Violence in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery (University of California Press, 2012). Honorable mention is awarded to Sherine Hamdy for Our Bodies Belong to God: Organ Transplants, Islam, and the Struggle for Human Dignity in Egypt (University of California Press, 2012).

Following a rigorous competition of nearly 30 monographs, the SAR Prize Jury (Jordan Haug, Janet Hoskins, Paul Johnson, Tulasi Srinivas and ourselves) as well as prize coordinator, Lauren Leve, are pleased to award the Clifford Geertz prize that celebrates innovative recent books that integrate theory with ethnography and that connect the anthropology of religion to the larger world.

The Honorable Mention goes to Sherine Hamdy for her beautifully rendered ethnography Our Bodies Belong to God: Organ Transplants, Islam, and the Struggle for Human Dignity in Egypt. Sherine Hamdy is a medical anthropologist interested in notions of the body, health, and death among Muslims in Egypt. Drawing on fieldwork in Cairo and the Nile Delta, her book weaves ethnography among the sick in Egypt with insights regarding Islamic theological debates about organ donation. This highly readable and empathetic monograph shows how religious ethics are continuously made and remade in relation to socio-economic, political, and individual circumstances. The jury agreed that it was eye-opening, utterly engrossing, and hard to put down.

Our grand prize goes to Michael Lempert for Discipline and Debate: The Language of Violence in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. Lempert conducted fieldwork for several years in the late 1990s in Sera Mey, India at a large Tibetan monastery of 4,500 monks. His moving, compelling and highly original book vividly captures tensions in the disciplinary methods adopted in this Tibetan diasporic monastery and effectively deconstructs the Dalai Lama’s representation of Buddhism as inherently non-violent.

Lempert’s book offers vibrant insight into religious education and everyday life in Buddhist monasteries but also speaks to broader topics such as violence and non-violence, ritual, self-cultivation, and liberalism. He shows how reason is central to the tradition’s discursive diasporic pedagogy. The author employs meticulous ethnographic and linguistic-based methodologies to illustrate how in practice Tibetan Buddhist monks are shaping the tradition in ways that differ from its primary texts and from the promotional treatises of its leader to foreign audiences. How are theological abstractions materialized through embodied and interactive practices (2012: 10)? How are these rituals received? Are they effective in eliciting the sympathies of their audiences? Drawing on hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings of monastic assemblies, debate practices, and interviews, Lempert offers rich responses to these inquiries. He examines these semiotic interactions largely by referring to linguistic anthropology, without, as one jury member noted, “getting too technical.” While taking on these language-based issues, the book also comes to significant conclusions about the dynamism of Buddhism and the pragmatics of appropriation and emulation of beliefs outside of Tibet.

In sum, Discipline and Debate is well written and clear about its contribution to other literatures without being overburdened by them. Members of the jury agreed that this book is Geertzian in ambition and tone and tells a really good story.

Congratulations both to 2013 Clifford Geertz Prize winner Michael Lempert and to Sherine Hamdy.

By Amira Mittermaier and Jennifer Selby (SAR Book Prize Jury Members)