Amaury Talbot Prize 2021

Home About RAI Announcements Amaury Talbot Prize 2021

The results of the 2021 Amaury Talbot Prize for African Anthropology have now been announced.

Joint Winner
Iyam, David Uru. 2021. Shaping tradition: women’s roles in ceremonial rituals of the Agwagune. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin.

A superb exploration of the influence of women in a patriarchical society in south-eastern Nigeria: Iyam demonstrates convincingly the authority that Agwagune women exercise in contexts and in ceremonies that are nominally exclusive to men. The book makes its arguments with subtlety and originality in a work based on detailed ethnography of the Agwagune, but having a relevance across Africa and beyond.
Joint Winner
Eczet, Jean-Baptiste. 2021. Cattle poetics: how aesthetics shapes politics in Mursiland, Ethiopia. Berghahn Books, New York.

Cattle poetics is a superlative analysis of the aesthetics of interactions between the Mursi of Ethiopia and their animals.  Eczet captures the vibrancy and potency of the relationship in a brilliant sociocultural anthropology that shows the complexity of the poetry, coloration and scarification as process, stemming not from the cattle but from the people themselves.  

Highly commended
Smith, James H. 2021. The eyes of the world: mining the digital age in the eastern DR Congo. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 

A major contribution to our knowledge of the way mining operates in the eastern Congo, this book deserves to be widely read beyond the anthropological community. The modern world depends on its advanced technologies, and they in turn depend on supply chains – which the author explores and illuminates in varied ways, with a constant concern for the sometimes ‘inconvenient’ people who ultimately make possible the products of tech companies.  
Highly commended
Müller-Kosack, Gerhard. 2021. Azaghvana: a fragmentary history of the Dghwede of the Mandara Mountains. Mandaras Publishing, Ramsgate, Kent.  

Highly commended: An encyclopaedic account of the people of the Gwoza hills, at the northern end of the Mandara mountains in NE Nigeria, this volume presents its ethnography in rich detail.  It is valuable all the more since the region has been ravaged by Boko Haram, and remains insecure. The author terms his history ‘fragmentary’ in that context, but the comprehensive treatment preserves a remarkable varied record – a feat of scholarship of great anthropological worth.  

You can find more information about the Amaury Talbot Prize here.