David Hakken Graduate Student Paper Prize

Since 2015, the Committee on the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing (CASTAC) has awarded a graduate student paper prize in recognition of excellent work by rising scholars. In 2016 the prize was renamed in honor of the memory of David Hakken, for his pioneering work at the intersection of ethnography and cyberspace.

The prize is awarded to a paper that exemplifies innovative research at the intersection of anthropology and science and technology studies, demonstrating theoretical sophistication and an appreciation of the methodological challenges facing the anthropology of science and technology.

The winner of the prize will be recognized during the AAA meetings and is sponsored by the AAA’s General Anthropology Division. They will also receive written feedback from the Prize Committee’s review of their paper.

2022 Prize Awardees

Winner: “Redesigning the Substance of Growth: Sugarcane, Biotech, and Sustainable Futures in São Paulo, Brazil”

Katie Ulrich, Rice University

CASTAC is pleased to announce the paper titled, “Redesigning the Substance of Growth: Sugarcane, Biotech, and Sustainable Futures in São Paulo, Brazil,” as the winner of the 2022 David Hakken Student Paper Prize. In this beautifully written ethnographic article the author interrogates the concept of growth, starting with a reflection that traces the idea of growth in major economic paradigms over the last five hundred years. At a moment of energy transitions, how should we continue to use this framework, if at all? By describing and contrasting the work of two Brazilian scientists, the author presents parallel narratives that position sugarcane as a possible anchor of sustainability. Readers learn much about the Brazilian research context and the materiality of sugarcane, and will be compelled by the author’s nuanced argument. The paper is brilliantly situated within anthropological scholarship on environmental science, lab practices, and sustainable transitions, and contributes much to our thinking about how various legacies – colonial and capitalist – continue to steer hope in contemporary research.

Honorable Mention: “Telecommuting and Remote (Field)work: A Reluctant Neologism for a Time of Climate Change”

Adam Fleischmann, McGill University

This year’s honorable mention goes to “Telecommuting and Remote (Field)work: A Reluctant Neologism for a Time of Climate Change,” which provides an intriguing reflection on how one anthropologist is thinking about doing fieldwork across remote settings. The ethnography begins before the pandemic with a focus on a climate science working group; stakeholders from different NGOs coordinate work at a distance, compelling the author to do the same. Of course, many forms of work could be called remote prior to the pandemic, but climate science is a potent case study. The author draws on work by Hannah Knox and Paul Edwards, among others, to think through characteristics that make climate science unique and not, for example, the abstractions that take place when thinking about global environmental crises. In addition to the engaging exposition of fieldwork, the author discusses canonical methodological texts to position their specific experience of remote fieldwork – an experience now shared by many of us – in relation to different constructions of digital ethnography. The article is delightful to read, provides readers with much to think about, and enters timely methodological conversations with robust insight and provocations.

Thank-you to the 2022 Hakken Prize Committee – Ali Kenner, Shreeharsh Kelkar, and Nicole Welk-Joerger for their hard work in selecting this year’s winners.

2022 Submission Guidelines

  • Papers should be blinded, with the author’s name and any implicating citations removed.
  • Papers should have numbered pages.
  • Papers must be between 7,000 and 8,000 words, not including references.
  • Papers must be unpublished and not yet submitted for publication.
  • Papers must follow the guidelines for human subjects protocols as outlined by the American Anthropological Association and the author’s institution.
  • Authors must be graduate students at the time of submission.

The committee will be unable to consider any paper that does not follow these guidelines.

Submissions must be received using the online submission form by July 11 to be considered for this year’s prize. Any questions can be directed to Co-Chairs Patricia G. Lange and Baird Campbell at co-chairs@castac.org. The award will be presented at the CASTAC business meeting (date and time to be determined).

For more information about CASTAC, please browse our website. CASTAC also awards the Forsythe Prize, for 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. For more information on the Forsythe Prize, see the Forsythe Prize page.

Previous Prize Winners


Rae Jezera for “I’m not this Person”: Racism, Content Moderators and Protecting and Denying Voice Online

Caroline White-Nockleby (Hon. Mention) for “A resource in and of itself” Grid-scale batteries and the politics of storage


Liliana Gil for “A Fablab in the Periphery: Decentering Innovation from São Paulo”

Jia-Hui Lee (Hon. Mention) for “Rodent Trapping and the Imagination of the Just Possible in Tanzania”


Alexandra Middleton for “The Datafication of Pain: Trials and Tribulations in Measuring Phantom Limb Pain.”

Stephen Paff (Hon. Mention) for “Anthropology by Data Science: The EPIC Project with Indicia Consulting as an Exploratory Case Study.”


Timothy McLellan for “Comparing Theories of Change: The Temporal Transformation of Scientific Practice.”

Laura Meek (Hon. Mention) for “The Grammar of Leprosy: Temporal Politics and an Impossible Subject.”


Nicole Welk-Joerger for “Achieving Eden in the Amish Anthropocene”

Héctor Beltran (Hon. Mention) for “Staging the Hackathon”


Kellie Owens for “Too Much of A Good Thing?: American Childbirth, Intentional Ignorance, and the Boundaries of Responsible Knowledge.”

Shreeharsh Kelkar (Hon. Mention) for “Platformizing Pedagogy: MOOC Infrastructures and the Transformation of Roles.”


Risa Cromer for “Saved: Stem Cell Science, Christian Adoption, and Frozen Embryo Politics in the United States.”

Beth Reddy (Hon. Mention) “Misfires and Missed Opportunities: Personal and Population-Oriented Technologies Interface to Disseminate Mexico’s Earthquake Early Warning System Alerts.”