Stefan Helmreich awarded the 2017 J. I. Staley Prize
MIT faculty leader receives top book prize in anthropology for Alien Ocean
“Some people call this the Pulitzer Prize of anthropology. The prize is selected by an anonymous committee of scholars. It's a very competitive process, there are very intense debates, and this book emerged as the unanimous favorite.”
— Michael Brown, President, School for Advanced Research
Stefan Helmreich, the Elting E. Morison Professor of Anthropology and program head, has been awarded the 2017 J. I. Staley Prize from the School for Advanced Research for his book, Alien Ocean.The award ceremony took place at MIT on Friday, November 10.
"I’m honored to receive the Staley Prize from the School of Advanced Research,” Helmreich says. “Not only am I humbled to join the company of scholars whose books have been formative for my own anthropological work and sensibility, but I am also pleased that the anthropological study of science has come to be recognized as an endeavor central to our discipline. I’m also happy that the oceanic realm — so vital to contemporary conversations around territorial sovereignty, socio-ecological health and justice, and climate change — has come to be an established topic for the interpretative social sciences."
The Pulitzer Prize of Anthropology
Founded in 1988, the J. I. Staley Prize is awarded to living authors for books that exemplify outstanding scholarship and writing in the field of anthropology. The committee endeavors to recognize innovative works that reach beyond the traditional boundaries and dominant schools of thought, cross subdisciplinary boundaries, and explore interdisciplinary frontiers.
“This is the biggest book prize in anthropology,” said Michael Brown, President of the School for Advanced Research. “Some people call this the Pulitzer Prize of anthropology. The prize is selected by an anonymous committee of scholars. It's a very competitive process, there are very intense debates, and this book emerged as the unanimous favorite.”
Published in 2009 by the University of California Press, Alien Ocean has been honored by numerous awards in addition to the Staley Prize, including the Rachel Carson Prize from the Society of Social Studies of Science, the Senior Scholar Book Prize from the American Ethnological Society, and the Gregory Bateson Book Prize from the Society for Cultural Anthropology.
Stefan Helmreich and Michael Brown.
Photograph by Andy Levine
Story by SHASS Communications
Staff Writer: Daniel Evans Pritchard
Communications Director: Emily Hiestand
Top photograph by Jonathan Sachs, SHASS Communications
Published November 16, 2017