Call for the 2022 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion

The Society for the Anthropology of Religion
A section of the American Anthropological Association

announces the 2022 juried competition for the


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 2020 or 2021. 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 2022.

Submission Guidelines

If you would like your book to be considered, please ask your publisher to contact me at To receive additional information on how to submit a book for consideration, please contact me via email. Deadline for submission of books is:

April 1, 2022

James S. Bielo
Chair, 2022 Geertz Prize Committee

2021 Student Prize Winners and Honorable Mention

At the 2021 SAR business meeting, two winners of the annual Student Paper Prize and one honorable mention were announced. 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 is also 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.

2021 Geertz Prize Winner and Honorable Mentions

Geertz Prize Winners for 2021:

In late 2021, the SAR announced the winner and two honorable mentions for the annual Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion. Congratulations to all the recognized authors. Click here to learn more about past years’ winners.

Winner: Experiments with Power: Obeah and the Remaking of Religion in Trinidad (University of Chicago Press) by Brent Crosson.

Honorable Mention: Re-enchanting Modernity: Ritual Economy and Society in Wenzhou, China (Duke University Press) by Mayfair Yang.

Honorable Mention: Forgiveness Work: Mercy, Law, and Victims’ Rights in Iran (Princeton University Press) by Arzoo Osanloo.

Updates to the SAR Board

During the annual business meeting of the SAR held in November 2021, a newly elected board was announced, as listed below. The current list of board officers, members-at-large, and ex-officio members can be found here.

Terms for officers and members-at-large of the Executive Committee begin from the annual meeting of the AAA. The officers and members for 2021 are:

The Executive Committee also may appoint non-voting ex-officio members from time to time to help with the management of SAR. Currently, they are: