Diana Forsythe Prize

The Diana Forsythe Prize was created in 1998 to celebrate the best book or series of published articles in the spirit of Diana Forsythe’s feminist anthropological research on work, science, or technology, including biomedicine. The prize is awarded annually at the AAA meeting by a committee consisting of one representative from the Society for the Anthropology of Work (SAW) and two from CASTAC. It is supported by the General Anthropology Division (GAD) and Bern Shen.

2024 Call for Nominations for the Diana Forsythe Prize

Please spread the word far and wide that the Diana Forsythe Prize committee is now accepting nominations for the Diana Forsythe Prize, due no later than June 1, 2024 (early nominations are appreciated). Self-nominations are welcomed.

Submission Requirements

  • To be eligible, books (or article series) must have been published in the last five years (copyright of 2019 or later).
  • Formal letter of nomination outlining how the book (or article series) exemplifies the spirit of Diana Forsythe’s feminist anthropological research on work, science, or technology, including biomedicine. (Self-nominations are welcomed.)
  • Three physical copies of the book (or article series) must be mailed to the selection committee members.

Nomination Procedure

Note: This nomination procedure is required to be considered. Publishers, formal nomination letters are required for each book nominated.

  1. Complete the online submission form and upload the formal letter of nomination to the form by June 1, 2024.
  2. Once the nomination has been submitted and verified as meeting minimum requirements, the publisher/nominee will be provided with the correct addresses to send copies of the book (or article series) to each committee member within 2-3 business days.
  3. Mail one copy of the book (or article series) to each committee member, postmarked by June 10, 2024 or immediately upon receipt of addresses.

2023 Diana Forsythe Prize Winners

Winner: Bettina Stoetzer, Ruderal City: Ecologies of Migration, Race, and Urban Nature in Berlin (Duke University Press, 2022).

Book cover for Ruderal City. The background is an overgrown overpass.

Bettina Stoetzer’s Ruderal City is an imaginative and beautifully written ethnography of how Berlin’s forests, gardens, peripheries, and blasted landscapes and rubble fields (now obscured but not disappeared) have become, post-World War II and again post-1989, an uncanny home for heterogeneous lives and world-making. Ruderal City re-reads Berlin’s famous forests and gardens as spaces of exclusion, where refugees inhabit the uncanny ruins of the socialist built/forested landscape. It opens up a new analytic for understanding what kind of lives are enabled by the constitutive gaps and incoherence of governance and state attempts to manage the mobility of populations. And it shows how the continuing forces of colonial violence and racialization can be traced and sensed in both migrant experiences and in the environment and landscapes that European migration regimes generate.  At the center of the analysis is “the ruderal,” referring to plants that thrive in disturbed environments. From its riveting first chapter on post-war Berlin as a “feral city” in which bombed-out rubble fields prove hospitable to a fascinating ruderal ecology, Stoetzer brilliantly weaves a path through multiple domains in which plants, gardens, and the work of tending unseen, marginal, or invisibilized spaces become central to our understanding of the city and of 20th and 21st century racialized nationalist formations.

Grounded deeply and thoughtfully in the methods and insights of feminist anthropology and STS, Indigenous studies, and critical studies of race, environment, migration, and cities, Ruderal City is an unexpected roadmap for the racialized environmental catastrophe of this moment, and a beautiful meditation on, as Stoetzer puts it, “the unruly, more-than-human alliances amid displacement and inhospitable environments” (240). The Diana Forsythe Prize celebrates work that “exemplifies the spirit of Diana Forsythe’s feminist anthropological research on work, science, or technology, including biomedicine.” This book does so in entirely original and generative ways.

Previous Winners

2022 Adriana Petryna, Horizon Work: At the Edges of Knowledge in an Age of Runaway Climate Change (Princeton University Press, 2022); Noah Tamarkin (Hon. mention), Genetic Afterlives: Black Jewish Indigeneity in South Africa (Duke University Press, 2020)

2021 Alex Blanchett Porkopolis: American Animality, Standardized Life, and the Factory Farm (Duke University Press, 2020); Radhika Govindrajan (Hon. mention) Animal Intimacies: Interspecies Relatedness in India’s Central Himalayas (University of Chicago Press, 2018)

2020 Mythri Jegathesan  Tea and Solidarity: Tamil Women and Work in Post-War Sri Lanka, (University of Washington Press  2019); Alondra Nelson (Hon. mention) The Social Life of DNA:Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome, Beacon Press

2019: Lilly Irani for Chasing Innovation: Making Entrepreneurial Citizens in Modern India (Princeton University Press 2019); Juno Salazar Parreñas (Hon. mention) Decolonizing Extinction: The Work of Care in Orangutan Rehabilitation

2018: Sara Ann Wylie, for Fractivism: Corporate Bodies and Chemical Bonds (Duke 2018)

2017: Sareeta Amrute, for Encoding Race, Encoding Class (Duke, 2016)

2016: Eben Kirksey for Emergent Ecologies (Duke, 2016)

2015: Gabriella Coleman for Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous (Verso, 2014)

2014: S. Lochlann Jain for Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us (University of California Press, 2013)

2013: Heather Paxson for The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America (University of California Press, 2012)

2012: Rene Almeling for Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm (University of California Press, 2011)

2011: Alexander Edmonds for Pretty Modern: Beauty, Sex and Plastic Surgery in Brazil (Duke University Press, 2010)

2010: Elly Teman for Birthing a Mother, The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self (University of California Press, 2010)

2009: Emily Martin, for Bipolar Expeditions: Mania and Depression in American Culture (Princeton University Press, 2007)

2008: João Biehl, for Will to Live: AIDS Therapies and the Politics of Survival (Princeton University Press, 2007)

2007: Marcia Inhorn, for Local Babies, Global Science: Gender, religion and in vitro fertilization in Egypt (Routledge, 2003)

2006: Jan English-Lueck, for Cultures@SiliconValley (Stanford University Press, 2002)

2005: Joe Dumit, for Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity (Princeton University Press, 2004)

2003: Cori Hayden, for When Nature Goes Public: The Making and Unmaking of Bioprospecting in Mexico (Princeton University Press, 2003)

2002: Lucy Suchman, for the body of her work

2001: Stefan Helmreich, for Silicon Second Nature: Culturing Artificial Life in a Digital World (University of California Press, 1998)

2000: David Hess, for the body of his work

1999: Rayna Rapp, for Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: The Impact of Amniocentesis in America (Routledge, 1999).