Announcement: 2013 Halperin Competition (deadline Dec 15)

The Mission of the Memorial Fund

The Rhoda Halperin Memorial Fund celebrates the life and scholarly work of Rhoda Halperin by supporting PhD students in anthropology who emulate her love of economic anthropology and her concern for people living on the social margin. In memory of Rhoda’s convivial colleagueship, the Fund also encourages student professional development through participation in the scholarly meetings of the SEA and AAA. To meet these goals, students engaged in economic research focused on social exclusion and poverty are provided small research grants and subsequent travel money to present their findings at the Society for Economic Anthropology annual conference.

The pre-doctoral travel fellowship grant

The primary task of the Fund is to support PhD students in Anthropology with innovative approaches to research and a desire to engage the world through their scholarship, and who need seed money for their dissertation research.

Because Rhoda Halperin’s career exemplified the integration of anthropological theory with social activism, for the purposes of this award, Economic Anthropology is broadly defined to include both applied and non-applied issues, including anthropological research that engages with issues of poverty, exclusion from the political process, and access to education.

The Halperin Fund will enable pre-doctoral travel and support for dissertation research to help students develop their topics and proposals. Because the goal of the grant is to provide seed money, preference will be given to students early in the dissertation process rather than to those who are further along and have already developed their proposals.
Any student in an Anthropology doctoral program is eligible for the award. Upon receipt, awardees will also receive a year’s membership in the SEA..

Recipients will receive the award in two parts, with a primary grant of $1000 for PhD research and a second award of $500 to supplement the costs of traveling to the SEA spring conference during the year following the research award in order to give a poster session or paper reporting on the dissertation research or background.

Applying for a Halperin Award

Students who meet the eligibility requirements listed above may apply for the award by providing the following materials and meeting the deadline listed below. All materials should be submitted via email to Martha Rees ( by December 15, 2012. We will announce awards by January 30, 2013.
a. Proposal Cover sheet
b. Project description, not to exceed 500 words and covering research goals, itinerary, primary research tasks, potential outcomes
c. Curriculum vitae
d. Letter of recommendation

Donations to Support the Fund

The Fund is supported through donations from Dr. William Halperin, from friends and colleagues who had the good fortune to work with Rhoda during her professional life, and from current members of the SEA seeking to help launch the careers of new scholars.

Because of the administrative contributions of the SEA and the Fund’s steering Committee, one hundred percent of all donations goes to the graduate student winners of Halperin awards. Please consider making your own donation.

The Halperin Memorial Fund functions within the Society for Economic Anthropology, which is a 501(c)3 organization. Donations to The Halperin Memorial Fund are exempt from federal income tax, as are membership fees (although not book costs) for SEA. When you make a donation to support the Halperin Memorial Fund by check, please make your check to “Society for Economic Anthropology Halperin Memorial Fund.”

2012 SEA Schneider Student Paper Prize Winners

We are very pleased to announce the winners and runners-up for the 2012 Schneider student competition:

Graduate Winning Paper
Karen Rignall, University of Kentucky
“Land use change the new spatiality of livelihoods in pre-Saharan Morocco”
Faculty sponsor: Lisa Cliggett

Graduate Honorable Mention
Nicholas D’Avella, UC Davis
“Crisis Histories, Brick Futures: Economic Theories and the Matter of Investment in Post-Crisis Argentina”
Faculty sponsor: Donald Donham

Undergraduate Winning Paper
William Purtzer, Reed College
“The World Has Gone Social: Market Hype, the Digital ‘You,’ and Facebook’s Hopes for Profitability”
Faculty sponsor: Charlene Makley

Undergraduate Honorable Mention
Alejandro Jinich, Columbia University
“Tradable SO2 Emission Licenses: A Commodity Ethnography”
Faculty sponsor: Paige West

Congratulations to our winners, and thanks to all who submitted papers and letters for their students.

The Harold K. Schneider Prize Competition is a student paper competition established by the Society for Economic Anthropology to honor its first president and to encourage new scholars in the field of economic anthropology. Harold Schneider, Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University, was known for both his path breaking research and his dedication as a teacher. Each year, the Society for Economic Anthropology invites both undergraduate and graduate students to submit papers on any aspect of economic anthropology or economic archaeology.

Announcing the winner of the 2012 SEA Book Prize: Sarah Lyon

Winner of the 2012 SEA Book Prize: Sarah Lyon, Coffee and Community: Maya Farmers and Fair-Trade Markets

While many people believe that drinking fair-trade coffee, purchased directly from the growers, promotes healthier working conditions, environmentally friendly agricultural standards and fair prices, Lyon’s work, “Coffee and Community: Maya Farmers and Fair-Trade Markets,” (University of Colorado Press, 2010) analyzes the real implications of fair-trade networks.

Through an ethnographic analysis of Mayan coffee farmers in Guatemala, Lyon analyzes the collective action of fair-trade participants in creating new economic realities. “A lot of people have heard about fair trade and they may even purchase fair trade products, like coffee, so in that sense even though the book centers on the lives of these Maya coffee farmers in Guatemala, it is a subject that we can all relate to, or at least those of us who drink coffee,” Lyon said.

The book received the most recent SEA Book Prize, a prize given every three years, to recognize the best publication in the field of economic anthropology over the three-year cycle. Lyon said that with approximately 30 other books nominated for the award, she was very honored to receive the accolade. The book prize was announced at SEA’s annual meeting in San Antonio.

While excited about her honor, Lyon said that she hopes the book’s influence extends beyond award nominations. “My ultimate hope is that the award helps bring more attention to the struggles that small farmers in places like Guatemala face,” Lyon said. “It’s really great to know that people within your sub-discipline, the people whose work most closely mirrors your own and who you are referencing regularly, respect your research and find it interesting.”

Sarah Lyons home page is here:

“Coffee and Community” is on Amazon here:

The SEA Book Prize committee includes Jeffrey Cohen (Chair), Faidra Papavasiliou and Paul Rivera.