Public Anthropologist Award (PUAN-A)


PUAN-A is awarded to a social and cultural anthropologist who has published an outstanding contribution that addresses – in innovative, engaging and compelling ways – key societal issues related to one or more of the following topics: violence, war, poverty, social movements, freedom, aid, rights, injustice, inequality, social exclusion, racism, health, and environmental challenges.

A contribution can be any published research output – for example a book, peer reviewed article, documentary, etc.

Application: submit your research output together with your CV (2 pages) to Public Anthropologist’s Editor-in-Chief, Antonio De Lauri:

Write PUAN-A + “Title of the research output” in the subject heading.

2025 Award
Deadline 15 January 2025 (for outputs published in 2023 and 2024)

Prize: A committee chaired by the Editor-in-Chief will select one research output for the Public Anthropologist Award. The author will receive a prize of 500 €.

For more information on the journal, please visit

Prize Winners

The winner of the Public Anthropologist Award 2024 is Maria-Theres Schuler for her book Disability and Aid. An Ethnography of Logics and Practices of Distribution in a Ugandan Refugee Camp (Brill, 2023). Maria-Theres Schuler is a social anthropologist, journalist, and filmmaker with expertise in global inequality, corporate responsibility and social movements. Disability and Aid is an important book written with a commendable ethnographic sensibility. Of potential interest to experts and students of humanitarian, development and disability studies, as well as anthropology and African studies, the book provides a nuanced investigation of the dynamics of aid to disabled people in a Ugandan refugee camp.

The winner of the Public Anthropologist Award 2023 is Gwen Burnyeat for her book The Face of Peace. Government Pedagogy amid Disinformation in Colombia (University of Chicago Press, 2022). Gwen Burnyeat is Junior Research Fellow in Anthropology at Merton College, University of Oxford. She is a political anthropologist and has worked on peace and conflict in Colombia for over a decade as both an engaged scholar and peacebuilding practitioner. The Face of Peace is an engaging journey into the complexity of Colombians' peace efforts and challenges. Moving between different scales of inquiry, Burnyeat explains the intricacies of the government-public relationship and the dynamics and failures of liberal peace-making. A great ethnography and a precious reference for comparative analyses on peace processes.

The winner of the Public Anthropologist Award 2022 is Catherine Besteman for her book Militarized Global Apartheid (Duke University Press, 2020).
Catherine Besteman is Francis F. Bartlett and Ruth K. Bartlett Professor of Anthropology at Colby College. Throughout her career, she has worked on issues related to power dynamics that produce and maintain inequality, racism, and violence, as well as collective efforts for social change.
Militarized Global Apartheid effectively addresses key instances of exploitation, inequality, and division in the contemporary world. The book is a lucid and nuanced exploration of the global hierarchies that, whether we are aware of it or not, have a devastating impact on the lives of many while creating privileges for a few others.

The winner of the Public Anthropologist Award 2021 is Ather Zia for her book Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation and Women’s Activism in Kashmir (University of Washington Press, 2019 & Zubaan Publishing, 2020). Ather Zia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Gender Studies Program at the University of Northern Colorado Greeley. She holds a doctorate in Anthropology from the University of California, Irvine. Her research examines the Indian military occupation, settler colonialism, and women’s collective political and social challenges in the disputed Indian-administered Kashmir. Resisting Disappearance is a powerful narration of the effects of oppression and political disputes on people's everyday life. The book is engaging and shrewdly written. It effectively summarizes the broad and committed scholarship and research behind it. An excellent example of anthropology's capacity to both inform and inspire.