Dear SEA members and fans,

I am pleased to announce that this year’s SEA book prize will be awarded to Christopher Krupa for his book A Feast of Flowers: Race, Labor, and Postcolonial Capitalism (2022) from the University of Pennsylvania Press. This book is about the cut flower industry in Ecuador, but so much more as well: the rise of financial capitalism, the narratives that plantation owners tell themselves, the use of industrial psychology in hiring practices, and the racialization of Ecuador’s economy. Before reading this book, I was completely unaware of the dominance of Ecuadorian flower plantations in the floral business here in the United States. The ignorance is two-way: Krupa documents how concerned flower-cutters are that we in the States might grow ill from pesticides when we eat the roses they are sending to us. The book is also extremely well-written and understandable to different audiences. My mother (not an anthropologist) is already halfway through it, just because she finds it fascinating.

The book prize committee also had the opportunity to read six other finalists, all of which we can endorse as strong additions to your bookshelf and syllabi:

  1. Daniel Agbiboa: They Eat our Sweat: Transport Labor, Corruption, and Everyday Survival in Urban Nigeria/ (2022) Oxford University Press
  2. Keri Brondo: Voluntourism and Multispecies Collaboration: Life, Death, and Conservation in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (2021) University of Arizona Press
  3. Bianet Castellanos: Indigenous Dispossession: Housing and Maya Indebtedness in Mexico (2021) Stanford University Press
  4. Rebecca Galemba: Laboring for Justice: the Fights against Wage Theft in an American City (2023) Stanford University Press
  5. Sibel Kusimba: Reimagining Money: Kenya in the Digital Finance Revolution (2021) Stanford University Press
  6. Fabio Mattioli: Dark Finance: Illiquidity and Authoritarianism on the Margins of Europe (2020) Stanford University Press

Thank you to all of our nominees and nominators, the presses that sent us free copies, and to the members of the committee for their time.

Joanne Baron