Award Winners

Elliott P. Skinner Book Award


  • Jean Hunleth (Washington University in St. Louis), Children as Caregivers:  The Global Fight against Tuberculosis and HIV in Zambia (Rutgers University Press, 2017)
  • Finalists:
    • George Paul Meiu (Harvard University), Ethno-erotic Economies: Sexuality, Money, and Belonging in Kenya (University of Chicago Press, 2017)
    • Kenda Mutongi (Williams College), Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi (University of Chicago Press, 2017)


  • Yolanda Covington-Ward (University of Pittsburgh), Gesture and Power:  Religion, Nationalism, and Everyday Performance in Congo (Duke University Press, 2016)


  • James Ferguson (Stanford University), Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution (Duke University Press, 2015)
  • Honorable Mentions:
    • J. Lorand Matory (Duke University) Stigma and Culture: Last-Place Anxiety in Black America (University of Chicago Press, 2015)
    • Richard Werbner (Manchester University), Divination’s Grasp: African Encounters with the Almost Said (Indiana University Press, 2015)


  • Daniel Jordan Smith (Brown University), AIDS Doesn’t Show Its Face: Inequality, Morality, and Social Change in Nigeria (University of Chicago Press, 2014)
  • Honorable Mentions:
    • Cati Coe, The Scattered Family: Parenting, African Migrants, and Global Inequality (University of Chicago Press, 2013)
    • Pnina Werbner, The Making of an African Working Class: Politics, Law, and Cultural Protest in the Manual Workers Union of Botswana (Pluto Press, 2003)


  • Jemima Pierre (University of California, Los Angeles), The Predicament of Blackness: Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race (University of Chicago Press, 2013)
  • Honorable Mention: Wyatt MacGaffey (Haverford College), Chiefs, Priests, and Praise-Singers: History, Politics, and Land Ownership in Northern Ghana (University of Virginia Press, 2013).


  • Steven Feld (University of New Mexico), Jazz Cosmopolitanism in Accra: Five Musical Years in Ghana (Duke University Press, 2012)
  • Jennie Burnet (University of Louisville), Genocide Lives in Us: Women, Memory, and Silence in Rwanda (University of Wisconsin Press, 2012)


  • Hans Lucht (University of Copenhagen), Darkness Before Daybreak: African Migrants Living on the Margins in Southern Italy Today (University of California Press, 2011)


  • Trevor Marchand (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London), The Masons of Djenné (Indiana University Press, 2009)
  • Honorable Mentions:
    • Jon Holtzman (Western Michigan University), Uncertain Tastes: Memory, Ambivalence and the Politics of Eating in Samburu, Northern Kenya (University of California Press, 2009)
    • Ivor L. Miller (Boston University), Voice of the Leopard: African Secret Societies and Cuba (University of Mississippi Press, 2009)


  • Ben W. Jones (University of East Anglia), Beyond the State in Rural Uganda (University of Edinburgh Press, 2009)


  • Deborah James (London School of Economics and Political Science), Gaining Ground?: “Rights” and “Property” in South African Land Reform (Routledge, 2007)
  • Honorable Mentions:
    • Sabine Jell-Bahlsen (Ogbuide Films), The Water Goddess in Igbo Cosmology: Ogbuide of Oguta Lake (Africa World Press, 2008)
    • Mwenda Ntarangwi, David Mills, and Mustafa Babiker (editors), African Anthropologies: History, Critique, and Practice (Zed Books, 2006)

Bennetta Jules-Rosette Graduate Student Essay Award

  • 2018 – Laura Meek (UC Davis), “Fakes, Poisons, and Medicines: Pharmaceutical Capacities in the Context of Radical Uncertainty in Tanzania”
    • Honorable Mention: Michael Obiri-Yeboah (UC San Diego),“Domains and Directionality in Gua Vowel Harmony”
  • 2017 – Brian Smithson (Duke University), “A Voice from the Bush: The Orò Society at the Yorùbá Borderlands”
    • Honorable Mention: Joeva Rock (American University),  “Dark Continent, Green Revolution: The Making of an African Green Revolution in Ghana”
  • 2016 – Eduardo Santana (University of California San Diego), “The Black Roots of Argentine Tango: Embodied Identities in the Dancing Diaspora”
    • Honorable Mention: Carrie McLachlin Leslie (University of Oklahoma), “African Women’s Resistance and the Reclamation of their Environment”
  • 2015 – Apostolos Andrikopoulos (University of Amsterdam), “The Process of Kinship in a Setting of Civic Inequality: West African Migrants Struggling Over Scarce Resources in Europe”
    • Honorable Mention: Dominic Granello (University of Oklahoma),  “BRICS, the New Development Bank, and South Africa: A Look at Changes in the Global and Regional Development Structure, and South Africa’s Role as a Regional Power”
  • 2014 – Uwa Oduwa (Georgetown University), “Rethinking Study Abroad: Academic Study in Developing Nations and the Case for Nigeria”
  • 2013 – Metasebia E. Yoseph (Georgetown University), “A Culture of Coffee: Transmediating the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony”
    • Honorable Mention: Yang Jiao (University of Florida, Gainesville), “The Rise of Chinese Transnational Elites in Africa”
  • 2012 – George Paul Meiu (University of Chicago), “Beach-Boy Elders and Young Big Men: Queering the Temporalities of Aging in Kenya’s Ethno-Erotic Economies”
    • Honorable Mention: Mohamed Abumaye (University of California, San Diego), “Silenced into Non-Existence: A Living History of Somali Orality”
  • 2011 – Erica Fontana (University of California, San Diego), “Online African Art: Representation, Circulation, and Access”
  • 2010 – David Platzer (Johns Hopkins University), “African Literature and Its Institutions”
    • Honorable Mention: Naomi Haynes (University of California, San Diego), “Pentecostalism and the Morality of Money: Religious and Economic Value on the Zambian Copperbelt”
  • 2009 – Lauren Adrover (Northwestern University), “Festive Currencies of Value: Culture, Commodification, and Performative Action in Ghana”
    • Honorable Mention: Scott Matter (McGill University), “Neopatrimonialism, Land Tenure Transformation, and Violence at Enoosupukia, Kenya”
  • 2008 – J.R. Osborn (University of California, San Diego), “Writing Culture with Arabic Letters: The School of Khartoum and Contemporary Calligraphic Art”

Nancy “Penny” Schwartz Undergraduate Student Essay Award

  • 2018 – Andrea Kvietok (Macalester College), “Navigating ‘Here’ and ‘There’: Migrants’ Connections to Home and Lived Realities While Abroad”
  • 2017 – Franklyn Odhiambo (UC Berkeley), “Speaking in Transcendence: Postcolonial Feminism, Sojourner Truth and the Combahee River Collective”
    • Honorable Mention: Kaeli Green (UC San Diego), “Intervention and Reinvention: Maasai Identity and Social Change in Kenya and Tanzania”
  • 2016 –Nana Charlene Elfreda Adubea Toa-Kwapong (Macalester College), “Alienation,(Re)integration or Something in Between: Return Migration to Accra, Ghana and Cultural Liminality”
    • Honorable Mention: Jamie Franzese (University of Oklahoma), “Democratization and Women’s Issues: A Comparative Analysis of Tunisia and Egypt”
  • 2015 – Sara Yukimi Saltman (Macalester College), “The Grass that Grows on Top of Bodies: Women, Marriage and the Construction of Collective Narratives in Rural Rwanda”
    • Honorable Mention: Anna Yamamuro (University of California, San Diego),  “Student Activism in South Africa: Apartheid-Era Challenges and Lasting Effects”
  • 2014 – Alexis Coopersmith (University of California, San Diego),  “Pathways to Power: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Wangari Maathai, and the African Woman’s Pursuit of Political Power”
    • Honorable Mention: Sarah Rayzl Lansky (Macalester College), ” My Brother Before Me: The Role and Experience of Local Humanitarian Aid Workers In Eastern Cameroon”
  • 2013 – Rachel Mueller (Macalester College),  “The Spirits are My Neighbors: Women and the Rab Cult in Dakar, Senegal”
    • Honorable Mention: Stephen Reynders (University of California, San Diego), “Ritual as Therapy: A Semiotic Theory of Modern and Pre-Modern Ritual Form”
  • 2012 – Divya Bhat (University of California, San Diego), “Survival Strategies as Islands of Security: Social Change and Development in the Congo”
    • Honorable Mention: Courtney Dehn-Gurbacki (McGill University), “The Mediation of Large-Scale Farmland Deals: A Tanzanian Case Study”
  • 2011 – Sean Brimmer (College of the Holy Cross), “Urban Africa Exposed: Inversion and the Restructuring of Kinship, Gender, and Style”
  • 2010 – Narisa Silver (University of California, San Diego), “Continuity and Change in the Ethiopian Jewish Community of Israel” 
  • 2009 – Josephine Pang (University of California, San Diego), “A Gendered Critique of Social/Sexual Networks: The Case of HIV/AIDS in South Africa and Uganda” 
  • 2008 – Natalie Spritzer (University of California, San Diego), “Health Care for All in Ghana” 
    • Honorable Mention: Ryan Hewey (Central Connecticut State University), “Negrotown: An Archaeology of African Agency from Colonial Connecticut” 

African Scholars Travel Grant

  • 1999 – Babatunde Omoniyi (Thames Valley University), “Names and Naming in the Arsenal of Contemporary Yoruba Political Campaign Warfare”

Putting Africa back on the map