Book Prize


The Association will recognize work that best exemplifies creativity and rigor in the ethnographic exploration of politics, law, and/or their interstices. Either single- or multi-authored books are eligible, however edited volumes, reference works, or second editions of previously published works are excluded from consideration.  The book must have been published during the year prior to the competition (2019).  Books translated into English from another language are eligible for consideration.  In such cases, the year that the translation was published is considered the year of publication for purposes of eligibility. Authors of nominated books must be members of APLA. Authors of the book prize and honorable mention are expected to serve on the APLA book prize committee the following year.

The Committee will look for books that: are ethnographically strong; advance theoretical insights related to political/legal anthropology; have original and well-substantiated arguments; speak to compelling issues and problems beyond its geographic location/particular topic; are well-written; and have the potential to be a major work in its field/s.

Nomination Process:
Information on the nomination process for APLA’s 2020 book prize will be released shortly.

History of APLA Book Prize Recipients:

Book Prize Recipient: Susan Helen Ellison (Wellesley College) for Domesticating Democracy: The Politics of Conflict Resolution in Bolivia (Duke University Press, 2018)

Honorable Mention: Yael Berda (Hebrew University) for Living Emergency: Israel’s Permit Regime in the Occupied West Bank (Stanford University Press, 2017)

Book Prize Recipient: Isaias Rojas-Perez (Rutgers) for Mourning Remains: State Atrocity, Exhumations, and Governing the Disappeared in Peru’s Postwar Andes (Stanford University Press 2017).

Honorable Mention:
Nikhil Anand (University of Pennsylvania) for Hydraulic City: Water and the Infrastructures of Citizenship in Mumbai (Duke University Press 2017)
Shiri Pasternak (Ryerson University) for Grounded Authority: The Algonquins of Barriere Lake against the State (University of Minnesota Press, 2017).

Book Prize Recipient: Karina Biondi for Sharing This Walk: An Ethnography of Prison Life and the PCC in Brazil (University of North Carolina Press, 2016), translated by John F. Collins.

Honorable Mention:
Antina von Schnitzler for Democracy’s Infrastructure: Techno-Politics and Protest After Apartheid  (Princeton University Press, 2016)
Nitzan Shoshan for the book The Management of Hate: Nation, Affect, and the Governance of Right Wing Extremism in Germany (Princeton University Press, 2016)

Book Prize Recipient: Catherine Fennell for Last Project Standing: Civics and Sympathy in Post-Welfare Chicago (University of Minnesota Press, 2015)

Honorable Mention: Jeremy M. Campbell for Conjuring Property: Speculation and Environmental Futures in the Brazilian Amazon (University of Washington Press, 2015)

Book Prize Recipient: Alex Golub for Leviathans at The Gold Mine: Creating Indigenous and Corporate Actors in Papua New Guinea (Duke University Press, 2014)

Honorable Mention:
Aaron Ansell for Zero Hunger: Political Culture and Antipoverty Policy in Northeast Brazil (University of North Carolina Press, 2014)
Audra Simpson for Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States (Duke University Press, 2014)

Book Prize Recipient: Lori Allen, The Rise and Fall of Human Rights: Cynicism and Politics in Occupied Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2013)

Honorable Mention: Matthew Hull for Government of Paper: The Materiality of Bureaucracy in Modern Pakistan (University of California Press, 2012)