One of the most exciting outcomes of the APLA Board Meeting this past November is the association’s decision to sponsor a new book prize which will be awarded for the first time at the 2014 AAA Annual Meeting! Please see the following announcement by Susan Terrio, Chair of the Book Prize Committee, for nomination guidelines.

APLA Book Prize Announcement

The Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (APLA) is pleased to launch a new book prize for the book that best exemplifies the ethnographic exploration of politics, law, and/or their interstices. The first APLA book prize will be awarded at the American Anthropological Association meeting in 2014 and annually thereafter. It carries an award of $1,000. The winning book will be reviewed in PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review and may be featured at a roundtable or author-meets-readers session at the AAA meeting. An honorable mention may be identified by the committee, if appropriate.


To be eligible for consideration, a book must examine law and/or politics ethnographically, and must have been published in English. For the 2014 prize only, a book may have been published between 2011-2013; thereafter, the book must have been published during the year prior to the competition.  Either single- or multi-authored books are eligible, however edited volumes, reference works, or second editions of previously published works are excluded from consideration.  Books translated into English from another language are eligible for consideration.  In such cases, the year that the translation was published is considered the year of publication for purposes of eligibility.

Nomination Process

Books may be nominated by the author(s), the press, or an APLA member. Nominations must be accompanied by a nominating letter. Send the nominating letter and a copy of the nominated book no later than May 1, 2014 directly to each of the three APLA book prize committee members: Bill Maurer, School of Social Sciences, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-500; Susan Hirsch, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, 3351 N Fairfax Dr, MSN 4D3, Arlington, VA 22201; Mona Bhan, Dept of Sociology and Anthropology, De Pauw University, Greencastle, Indiana 46135. Address inquiries to the Chair of Book Prize Committee, Susan Terrio,

Summary of APLA Events in Chicago

Members of APLA prepared and hosted a range of exciting special events and panels, in addition to our ever-popular business meeting, at the AAA Meetings this past November in Chicago. Events focused on publishing, genres of public writing, and expanding anthropology’s audience beyond the academy. Our open business meeting featured a discussion on “Expanding Anthropology’s Reach,” hosted by Yale professor Erik Harms, PoLAR co-editor John Conley, and outgoing president of APLA Susan Coutin. The association also hosted a special event on “Genres of Public Writing in Political and Legal Anthropology: Addressing Multiple Audiences.”  This conversation continued last year’s discussion on public engagement led by Professors Catherine Besteman and Hugh Gusterson during the 2012 APLA business meeting. Finally, there were numerous APLA-sponsored panels and four invited panels that explored a range of topics.

Read on for reports from the APLA faculty-student mentoring workshops by some of the participants, and check the AN website for more news from Chicago.

Workshop on “Mobility, Law & Citizenship” (by Véronique Fortin, UC Irvine)

On November 21, a small group of scholars gathered at lunchtime as six graduate students and one faculty member (Gillian G Tan, Deakin U, Australia) discussed the challenges of working on migration and mobility. The call for participation for this workshop had invited abstracts of research projects seeking to “widen anthropology’s lens on the range of relationships between legal regimes, citizenship, and human mobility.” The diversity of submissions made for an enriching conversation on topics including brain drain and the politics of mobility in Serbia; Congolese refugees in Tanzania and mobile international humanitarian organizations; Mexican H-2B-visa holders planting trees on roadways in the US; the encounter between the members of the Los Angeles Mongolian Association (LAMA), and Los Angeles municipal officials; the traffic in women, plants, and gold through different sites along the Interoceanic Road in Brazil, Peru. and Bolivia; and the contrast between the mobility of the demonstrators and the perceived immobility of homeless people, two criminalized populations in urban public spaces in Montreal. The collegial conversation continued beyond the workshop indicating the success of the workshops in creating new networks of dynamic political and legal anthropology scholars.

Workshop on “Law and Rurality” (by Michele L Statz, U Washington)

Taking “rurality as a continuum” (Pruitt 2006) as its point of departure, the APLA “Law and Rurality” workshop welcomed scholars who explore the shifting parameters, regulation, and significance of rural spaces domestically and abroad. Facilitated by Professors Kathryn Marie Dudley (Yale U) and Daniel Murphy (U Cincinnati), the conversation considered the gendered outcomes of land titling programs in Peru; invocations of rurality in the management of ethically produced high quality handloom cloth in India; negotiated attachments to property, or pai, in agrarian Ukraine; and the creative and localized strategies of public interest immigration attorneys in small U.S. towns. Together, the group explored intersections of law and landscape, temporality, gender and generation in rural contexts (however ambiguously defined), and we interrogated the categorical significance, and even usefulness, of “rurality” itself. As all of the workshop participants are nearing the end of fieldwork or are in the early stages of dissertation write-up, facilitators also offered helpful guidance about the practicalities and poetics of ethnography. This portion of the workshop covered everything from literary aesthetics to work-life balance, and the personal reflections and professional strategies Dudley and Murphy shared were invaluable to students who admitted to feeling somewhat “adrift” in the isolation of fieldwork and writing. Given the breadth and relevance of the topics discussed, as well as the overall warmth and collegiality of the conversation, APLA’s aim of supporting future legal anthropologists was certainly met in this workshop!

Please send ideas for future columns to the contributing editors, Leo Coleman at and Allison Fish at 

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