The Society for the Anthropology of Religion (SAR) holds an annual graduate student paper prize competition, which is aimed towards encouraging emerging scholars to write compelling ethnographies on religion. This prize is intended to foster theoretically significant, ethnographically rich work by students at an early stage of their career.
The prize includes a cash award of $250 for the winning paper, which might be recommended for publication in Religion and Society. There will also be a $100 cash award for the runner up. Starting in 2018, SAR launched a mentorship program that pairs select graduate student finalists with faculty mentors. Finalists have an opportunity to meet with their mentor at the AAA meetings to gain valuable feedback on revising their papers for publication.
Winner and Runner-Up for the 2023 Student Paper Prize
The winner was Irene Promodh (University of Michigan) for “(Un)Holy Gold: Arabi Ponnu and a Transregional Politics of Caste Among Kerala Christians.”
The runner-up was Ray Qu (University of Virginia) for “How spirits hope? Embodied suffering, complex temporality, and an expanded spectrum of hope in North China.”
Recent Student Paper Prize Winners
- 2022. ‘The Massacre and Martyr(dom)s of Oak Creek: The Scale of Violence, Articulation of Agonisms, and Problem of Diaspora’ by Randeep Hothi (University of Michigan).
- 2021. Co-winner: ‘“Dressing up like Mother to be called Father”: Anglo-Catholic priests as camp prophets’ by Carolyn Dreyer (University of Cambridge).
- 2021. Co-winner: ‘Of agency, Allah, and authority: The making of a divine trial among Muslims with same-sex attraction in Indonesia’ by Febi Ramadhan (Northwestern University).
- 2020. ‘“Finding Vessels for Our Lights”: Buddhist-Derived Meditation as an Ethical Means for Jewish Encounters with the Divine’ by Ori Mautner (University of Cambridge).
- 2019. ‘Divine Monarchy, Spirited Sovereignties, and the Timely Malagasy MSM Medium-Activist Subject’ by Seth Palmer (University of Toronto).
- 2018. Jane Saffitz (University of California, Davis).
Recent Student Paper Prize Runners-Up
- 2022. ‘History Written in Advance: Christian Prophecy, Chinese-Zambian Relations, and Diffracted Modernity’ by Justin Haruyama (UC Davis).
- 2021. ‘To circumcise or not to circumcise? Ritual choice, agency, and agony’ by Lindsey Jackson (Concordia University).
- 2020. ‘Toward a Non-person-centered Anthropology of Hope: Incense Seeing and Nonhuman Agency in North China’ by Ray Qu (University of Virginia).
- 2019. ‘The Aesthetics of Piety: Affect and/in Prayers among Indonesian Transgender Sex Workers’ by Bahram Naderil (Northwestern University).
- 2018. ‘U T’aan Nukuch Máak (Advice of the Elders): An Entrance into Maya Women’s Symbolic World’ by Crystal Sheedy (SUNY Albany).