Congratulations! APLA’s 2022 Book Prize in Critical Anthropology

The 2022 APLA Book Prize in Critical Anthropology was awarded to James H. Smith for The Eyes of the World: Mining the Digital Age in the Eastern DR Congo (University of Chicago Press). Congratulations!

The APLA Book Prize Committee had this to say about The Eyes of the World:

“The Eyes of the World is a tremendous book that creates a world of its own, enticing the reader in and refusing to let them leave. Focusing on a topic of global importance – how to meet the continually growing demand for sustainably produced mining minerals – the book illustrates with ethnographic brilliance how paradoxical and detrimental outside interventions can be. It details how the aspiration for minerals freed from ‘dirt’, violence and blood via the imposition of international standards and practices – embodied in the book by the ‘tagging’ of mineral mines – may result in more violence and blood. The book forwards a powerful message: lasting peacebuilding can only occur by including people whereas their exclusion may result in more violence, or as one of the book’s interlocutors summarizes ‘peace comes from many hands touching money.’

The book is a challenging read and requires dedication. Yet the reader will be warmly rewarded for this engagement as the author diligently spins all the ethnographic details into a compelling argument. In addition to anthropologist, this book should be read by people working in the international mining industry, international development, the humanitarian sector and human rights.”

Honorable Mention was awarded to Sarah Muir for Routine Crisis: An Ethnography of Disillusion (University of Chicago Press)!

The Committee described Muir’s book as:

“A theoretically sophisticated and beautifully written ethnography of the aftermath of the Argentinian financial crisis in 2001-2002. Focusing on the lived experiences of ‘routine crisis’, the book delves into the lived experience of longue-durée crisis. By focusing on the abandoned idea of ever-improving progressive modernity, the book asks what kind of new forms of solidarity can be harnessed by radical negativity. The book offers glimpses of utopian visions for egalitarian prosperity, while simultaneously eluding comforting finalized answers.”

 Many congratulations to both authors for their insightful and powerful work! More information about APLA’s Book Prize in Critical Anthropology and eligibility requirements can be found here.

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