Student Paper Prize

APLA Graduate Student Paper Prize Competition

APLA (Association for Political and Legal Anthropology) is pleased to announce that the 2016 Student Paper Prize is open for submissions. The committee will select five finalists; each finalist will be assigned a mentor who shares substantive interests, to offer feedback.

The APLA Board invites individuals who are students in a graduate degree-granting program (including M.A., Ph.D., J.D., LL.M., S.J.D. etc.) to send stand-alone papers centering on the analysis of political and/or legal institutions and processes. Topics may include citizenship; colonialism and post-colonial public spheres; cosmopolitanism; cultural politics; disability; environment; globalization; governance; humanitarianism; medicine, science, and technology; multiculturalism; nationalism; NGOs and civil society; new media; immigration and refugees; resistance; religious institutions; security, policing, or militarism; sexualities; social movements; human and civil rights; sovereignty; war and conflict. We encourage submissions that expand the purview of political and legal anthropology and challenge us to think in new ways about power, politics and law.

APLA awards a cash prize of $350.00, plus travel expenses of up to $650.00 if the prize winner attends the 2017 annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association (Washington DC) to receive the prize in person. The prize winner will be announced in Anthropology News, and the winning paper will be published in the peer-reviewed journal of APLA, which is PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review.


Please submit papers to by July 1, 2017. To facilitate a blind review process, please send two, separate .pdf files according to the following specifications:

A title page with your name, paper title, and contact information.
The paper manuscript itself, devoid of personal identifiers, but with title in the header of each page.


Jennifer Curtis, Chair
Kathleen Sullivan
Erik Harms
Mindie Lazarus-Black

Authors must be enrolled in a graduate program through at least May 1, 2016. Papers should not exceed 8,000 words (including notes and references) and should follow PoLAR‘s style guidelines. Please submit papers as PDF attachments to Jennifer Curtis ( 1, 2017.


Past Awardees

2016: Michelle Rooney, “We Do Not Qualify for Free Education”: Citizenship in The Segregated Political Economy of Service Delivery in Urban Papua New Guinea

2015:  Felix Stein, Timed Out? How Business Consultants Create, Endure and Spread Capitalism’s ‘Acute Temporality’

2014: Andrea Pia, ‘We Follow Reason, Not Law’: Disavowing the Law in Rural China

2013: Stacy Vandenhurst, God Rescued You: Divine Intervention & Sovereign Power in Nigeria’s Counter-Trafficking Programs

2011: Chika Watanabe, Return and Repetition in Development Work: Discipline as a Temporal Modality in a Religiously-based Japanese NGO

2012: Rachel Dotson, Citizen-Auditors and Visible Subjects: Mi Familia Progresa and Transparency Politics in Guatemala

2010: Ceren Ozgul, Legally Armenian: Secular Politics of Multicultural Tolerance and Name Change in the Mid-Level Courts of Istanbul

2009: Jessica Johnson, Masculinity, War, and Sacrifice at Home: The Transformative Cultural Politics of an Emerging Church in Seattle, Washington

2008: Karine Vanthuyne, Becoming Maya? The Politics and Pragmatics of ‘Being Indigenous’ in Post-genocide Guatemala

2007: Mark Schuller, Gluing Globalization: NGOs as Intermediaries in Haiti

2006: Tomi Castle, Sexual Citizenship: Articulating Citizenship, Identity, and the Pursuit of the Good Life in Urban Brazil, and Amy L Porter, Fleeting Dreams and Flowing Goods: Citizenship and Consumption in Havana Cuba

2005: Jessica Greenberg, Noc Reklamozdera: Democracy, Consumption, and the Contradictions of Representation in Post-Socialist Serbia

2004: Greg Beckett, Master of the Wood: Moral Authority and Political Imaginaries in Haiti

2003: Christopher Colvin, Constructing the Past, Imagining the Future: Pursuing the Political Through Traumatic Storytelling

2002: John Tofik Karam, Intensified Eth(n)ics: Arab Brazilians and Political Representation in Neoliberal Brazil

2001: Kimberley Coles, Ambivalent Builders: Europeanization, the Production of Difference, and Internationals in Bosnia-Herzegovina

1999: Ayse Parla, The ‘Honor’ of the State: Virginity Examinations in Turkey

1998: Nitasha Sharma, Down By Law: Responses and Effects of Sampling Restrictions on Rap

1997: Conerly Casey, Suffering and the Identification of Enemies in Northern Nigeria

1996: Harry G. West, Creative Destruction and Sorcery of Construction: Power, Hope and Suspicion in Post-War Mozambique

A full list of winning papers published in PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review is available on the journal’s website.