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Vinson Sutlive Book Prize and Lecture

Each year the department awards the Sutlive Book Prize to the best book published in the prior year, in any discipline, that makes use of anthropological perspectives in order to examine historical contexts and/or the role of the past in the present. The author is then invited to campus to present the Sutlive Lecture.

The 2020 Sutlive Prize has been awarded to Alireza Doostdar, author of The Iranian Metaphysicals: Explorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny. Doostdar currently works as Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and the Anthropology of Religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School. We look forward to an upcoming event with our winner soon.

Previous honorees include:

  • 2019: Naor Ben-Yehoyada, "The Mediterranean Incarnate: Region Formation Between Sicily and Tunisia Since World War II"
  • 2018: Gísli Pálsson, "The Man Who Stole Himself: The Slave Odyssey of Hans Jonathan"
  • 2017: Gillian Feeley-Harnik, "Ancient Household Words: Descent from Soil to Blood in Darwin’s England"
  • 2016: Engseng Ho, "A Moral Economy of Jihad: Pure Castes, Hybrid Law and Creole Society in Indian Ocean Malabar"
  • 2015: Arlene Davila, "El Mall: The Spatial and Class Politics of Shopping Malls in Latin America"

Dr. Sutlive and Karen Braun, at the inaugural lecture.These annual events honor Dr. Vinson Sutlive, Professor Emeritus, who taught for thirty years in the Department of Anthropology. When he first arrived he was one of a group of scholars who gave form and substance to the then fledgling program. Over the years he served several times as Department Chair. He taught and mentored many students, such as Karen Prentiss Braun, ‘87, whose generous donation in honor of Dr. Sutlive helped to initiate the events honoring him. Sutlive was also a founder and long-time editor of the journal Studies in Third World Societies, one of the first scholarly vehicles dedicated specifically to the study of non-Western culture and society. He is also known for his work on a comprehensive Dictionary of Iban (a Sumatran language).