The work of anthropology explores some of the most exciting and relevant issues facing humanity. We study our collective origins, the roots of violence, economic injustice, health disparities, family and kinship, constructions of “race,” education systems, how cities organize themselves, how we talk, climate change, emerging digital worlds, and so much more. But all too often anthropologists conclude our research into these vitally important topics with scholarly papers that are accessible only to a narrow pool of academics.
SAPIENS and Allegra are part of a movement to make anthropological research, theories, and thinking relevant to the public. From magazines like Anthropology Now and PopAnth, to books like David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years and Gillian Tett’s Fool’s Gold, to T.M. Luhrmann’s regular columns in The New York Times, anthropologists are emerging everywhere with new public voices.
To further encourage anthropologists to write about their work for a broader audience, Allegra and SAPIENS partnered earlier this year to launch a new competition for popular anthropological writing. An impressive 68 articles were submitted from anthropologists living and working around the world. We are thrilled to announce the winners.
First prize goes to Amy Starecheski’s “The House Society on Avenue C,” a searing and intimate portrait of the world of squatters in New York City.
Second prize is awarded to Hannah E. Marsh for her essay “The Biological Fallacy of American’s Race Problem,” a playful and personal view of the very serious subject of constructions of race.
Third prize is awarded to Robyn Eversole for “Illogical Objects and What they Tell Us,” which is about things that don’t seem to serve a purpose anymore but still seem to be put to good use.
We congratulate the winners and thank all of those who submitted an entry. Please stay tuned for the publication of the winning pieces on Allegra and SAPIENS! And of course, some Allegra considerations on the competition itself: did we find the next Margaret Mead – and is it a good idea to arrange such a search via competitions?