Nominations for 2019 LSA Awards

The deadline for the Law and Society Association’s 2019 awards is approaching! Consider nominating a colleague or student for one of the awards:

The deadline is February 1, 2019. The link for submissions is available through the LSA website.


APLA Graduate Student Workshops

Each year during the American Anthropological Association meeting, the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (APLA) sponsors a series of special workshops in which small groups of graduate students and faculty convene around thematic conceptual, theoretical, and methodological issues. These workshops offer an intimate mentorship context in which students can engage in intensive discussions regarding specific problems in their anthropological research and writing. This year’s workshop topics are the following (descriptions can be found below):

  • Ritual Performances of the State
  • Religious Nationalism
  • Technology and Urban Mobility/Spatiality
  • Technology in the Age of NDA and Contracts
  • The Body in the Law
  • Scandal, Rumors and Conspiracies

Each workshop will be limited to 4-5 students, who will meet with 2 faculty members at a café or restaurant near the AAA conference hotel. These locations, as well as the exact dates and times of the workshops will be determined in the weeks prior to the AAA meetings.

Doctoral students who wish to participate in these workshops should apply as soon as possible by completing this application form. Those interested in learning more about these workshops may check out our past workshops here.

Proposals will be accepted on a first-received, first-reviewed basis, and with the requirement that applicants’ projects/questions be closely related to the workshop topics. If an applicant feels that her or his project could be appropriate to more than one workshop, please feel free to list a second choice (in the event that the first-choice workshop has already filled up).

Email Rachel Laryea ( and Zahirah Suhaimi ( with any questions or concerns. The final deadline for consideration will be October 15, 2018 but workshops fill up quickly, so apply soon!

Workshop Descriptions:

Ritual Performances of the State:

Ritual has been a pre-occupation of anthropologists since the discipline’s formation.  It has been variously conceived as producing social solidarity, structuring rites of passage, or comprising everyday practices. Questions about the productive capacity of ritual remain salient for generating insights about social and political arrangements, including state power.  What kinds of rituals–whether the ceremonious coming together of capital and state power through an economic nationalist initiative, or the mundane act of renewing food stamp eligibility–serve to render a state or political entity legitimate and how?  What forms of subjectivity are inaugurated through participation in performances of the state? Alternatively, how might ritual be an avenue for disrupting and unsettling existing assemblages of power and function as a site of resistance, counter-politics, or solidarity? This workshop invites participants to critically re-engage the notion of ritual and consider its role in negotiations of political power, state formation, and nationalist culture.

Religious Nationalism:
Secularism has long been associated with the modern state, as a key component of a liberal political arrangement that ostensibly regulates expressions of religious belief in the public sphere. But what to make of the many growing religious nationalist movements across the globe, from Indonesia to Israel to the United States?  How might relations between the state and secularity be shifting? What are the conditions of possibility for the emergence of contemporary forms of nationalism, whether religious or secular? This workshop invites participants to examine the ways in which religious politics, secular modernity, and national policy intersect and inform one another.

Technology and Urban Mobility/Spatiality:
This workshop seeks to interrogate how recent advances in phone applications (apps) and map-based technology have reorganized communities and residential life. Drivers for apps like Uber and Lyft move millions of people daily throughout global urban centers, providing alternatives to extant means of transport including taxis and buses. These apps and other emerging digital technologies point to the increasing and varying ways technology is remapping urban life, labor and development. How has expanding access to technology disrupted urban core/periphery dynamics and migration patterns? How are our understandings of public/private space and transportation shaped by technology and  government attempts to regulate it? What can we learn about the politics of urban development, racism, housing policy and exclusion through a digitally cartographic lens? This workshop invites scholars to investigate technology and its effect on urban mobility and spatiality.

Ethnography in the Age of NDA and Contracts:
This workshop explores fieldwork methodology and ethics, examining the intersection of increasing institutionalization, frequent reliance on contracts and NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), and restrictions on field research funding. Given the increasing necessity of working within institutions to conduct research and the fact that many of these organizations now require researchers or affiliates to sign NDAs, how do these mandates influence what kinds of ethnography can be done, and where? How do contracts, whether boilerplate or more elaborate, impact anthropology’s reach, and what is the function of these contracts from an international legal standpoint? What are the ethical implications of anthropologists’ signing, refusing to sign, or breaking such contracts and other institutional agreements? How do these institutional frameworks foreclose and/or open theoretical and methodological possibilities for anthropological work? This workshop examines how anthropologists can draw from other literatures on formal and informal modes of non-disclosure (for example from medical anthropology, addiction studies, the anthropology of bureaucracy, or the study of the state) to conceptualize new methodological approaches to ethnographic research in the era of contracts.

The Body in the Law:
This workshop invites scholars to interrogate the centrality of “the body” in legal and medical strands of anthropology. What is the relationship of the body to legal and institutional forms of knowledge? At stake in such formations is who counts – and who is excluded – when we think about “the body.”  Medical diagnoses of the body are often used to inform legal procedures or as evidence in a court of law, for example in cases of assault, custody, worker’s compensation, or toxic illness. In such medico-legal formations, what comes to matter as “the body” is presumed universal, yet in practice is shifting. If the body is multiple and differentiated (Mol 2002), how can we as anthropologists avoid reproducing a singular institutional view in our theoretical frameworks of the body and embodiment?

Scandal, Rumors, and Conspiracies:
What constitutes a scandal, rumor, or conspiracy? What are their boundaries and how are they differently mobilized in a diverse array of political and legal contexts? While distinct categories, all are forms of speculative knowledge that can contest or legitimize political and legal formations and that raise enduring epistemological and ontological questions about politics, power, and justice. In recent times, the material effects of scandals, rumors, and conspiracies on political life have had momentous consequences as illustrated by the #metoo revelations in the United States, the Smolensk Conspiracy in Poland, or the Petrobras scandal in Brazil. This workshop invites graduate scholars to inquire into the multiple analytical dimensions of these phenomena as well as to critically explore the ethical and methodological risks of ethnographically researching these issues.

AAA Workshop: Empowering Contingent Faculty

What are your rights as contingent faculty? How can you improve your working conditions?

The Society for the Anthropology of Work will host a workshop during the American Anthropological Association meeting for contingent faculty to learn about their rights.

Jonathan Karpf, who has been a Lecturer in Anthropology at San José State University for 30 years, and is the AVP for Lecturers in the California Faculty Association, will be leading a discussion on salary, health benefits, unemployment benefits between terms, pensions, and garnering respect and collegial behavior from your tenure-line colleagues.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, November 17th, 9:00 – 11:00 am at the Hammer Café in the Hammer Theater in San Jose, California.

Registration is currently open, but space is limited so please register early. To secure your place, please complete the registration form here.

Email with questions.


APLA Graduate Student Paper Prize 2017

The Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (a section of the American Anthropological Association) is now accepting submissions to the APLA graduate student paper prize competition, with a  deadline of July 1, 2017.  Their announcement is reproduced below with further details:

The APLA Board invites individuals who are students in a graduate degree-granting program (including M.A., Ph.D., J.D., LL.M., S.J.D. etc.) to send stand-alone papers centering on the analysis of political and/or legal institutions and processes.

Topics may include citizenship; colonialism and post-colonial public spheres; cosmopolitanism; cultural politics; disability; environment; globalization; governance; humanitarianism; medicine, science, and technology; multiculturalism; nationalism; NGOs and civil society; new media; immigration and refugees; race and racial oppression; resistance; religious institutions; security, policing, or militarism; sexualities; social movements; human and civil rights; sovereignty; war and conflict.  We encourage submissions that expand the purview of political and legal anthropology and challenge us to think in new ways about power, politics and law.

The committee will select five finalists; each finalist will be assigned a mentor who shares substantive interests to offer feedback. APLA awards a cash prize of $350.00, plus travel expenses of up to $650.00 if the prize winner attends the 2017 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (Washington DC) to receive the prize in person. The prize winner will be announced in Anthropology News, and the winning paper will be considered for publication in the peer-reviewed journal of the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology, PoLAR: The Political and Legal Anthropology Review.

Authors must be enrolled in a graduate program through at least May 1, 2017. Papers should not exceed 8,000 words (including notes and references) and should follow the style guidelines of PoLAR, which are detailed in the American Anthropological Association Style Guide. Please review the submission instructions carefully, as they have been revised.


Please submit papers to by July 1, 2017. To facilitate a blind review process, please send two, separate .pdf files according to the following specifications:

  • A title page with your name, paper title, and contact information.
  • The paper manuscript itself, devoid of personal identifiers, but with title in the header of each page.

Jennifer Curtis, Chair
Kathleen Sullivan
Erik Harms
Mindie Lazarus-Black

For more information on the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology, please see:

2015 LSA Dissertation Award

The selection committee welcomes international submissions (in English) and nontraditional research. The award is a cash award of $500.

Nominations require: 

  • The dissertation must have been filed with the institution of higher education (U.S or non-U.S) during the calendar year prior to the award ceremony.
  • Nominations can be made only by a regular member of the Law and Society Association, and no self-nominations or student-member nominations are accepted.
  • A letter of nomination by a Faculty member.
  • The full dissertation in English; translations from other languages into English are welcome.
  • An abstract of the dissertation, also in English.
The deadline for all nominations is January 15, 2015.  Materials must be submitted electronically at:
Any questions should be addressed to Dissertation Committee Chair Elizabeth A. Hoffmann at

2015-2016 Fellowships – Program in Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University

The Program in Law and Public Affairs (LAPA) at Princeton University invites outstanding faculty members, independent scholars, lawyers, and judges to apply for visiting, residential appointments for the academic year 2015–2016.

Each year, through its fellows program, LAPA brings to Princeton world-class experts on the law. Successful candidates will devote an academic year in residence at Princeton engaging in their own research and in the intellectual life of the campus. Under exceptional circumstances, applications for only one semester in residence may be considered.

For 2015-2016, we plan to name up to five general LAPA Fellows, plus one LAPA/Perkins Fellowship in Law and Humanistic Inquiry for scholars at the early stages of their careers. Applicants to the program will be considered for all of the applicable fellowships, depending upon the applicant’s proposed research project and qualifications. Eligible candidates applying with a stated interest in the LAPA/Perkins Fellowship (see below) will not prejudice their consideration for a general fellowship and vice versa. All fellowships are based upon the same salary calculations and carry the same privileges and conditions.

LAPA Fellows devote the major portion of their time to their own research and writing on law-related subjects of empirical, interpretive, doctrinal and/or normative significance. In addition, LAPA Fellows are expected to participate in LAPA programs, including a biweekly faculty-graduate seminar and a weekly discussion group, as well as some public events and conferences. Fellows are expected to be in residence at Princeton at least four days a week during the academic term. They enjoy access to Firestone Library and a wide range of other activities and intellectual resources throughout the University. Some fellows may be invited to teach a course in one of Princeton’s graduate or undergraduate programs, subject to the needs of the University, sufficient enrollment, approval of the Dean of the Faculty, and the cooperation of the sponsoring academic department.

The fellows program is open to all regardless of citizenship, but it does not support work toward the completion of a degree. The program also does not support extended off-campus research. All applicants should have received a doctorate, juris doctor, or an equivalent professional degree by the beginning of the fellowship.

For more information, see their web page:

The General LAPA Fellows Program

Drawn from law schools, the social sciences, the humanities, and from the world of policy-making and legal practice, LAPA’s Fellows are engaged during their stay at Princeton in cutting-edge research about the law, legal practices and legal institutions. The fellows enhance Princeton’s tradition of excellence in undergraduate- and graduate-level intellectual inquiry into law-related issues, and they provide an intellectual critical mass for innovative scholarly collaborations about law and legal institutions. They also add to the group of normatively engaged scholars on campus who consider either policy or ethics as a substantial component of their work. The fellowship in in law and humanities ensures LAPA’s commitment to the humanistically oriented fields on campus.

LAPA does not designate annual themes for its fellows’ cohort so applications on all law-related subjects are welcome for the general fellows program. That said, the selection committee in any given year does give consideration in the last phases of the decision process to whether a particular set of fellows would complement each other, bring synergies to the program and otherwise show signs of being more than the sum of their individual proposals.

Because LAPA gets many more outstanding applications than it has fellowships, one of the final elements of the selection process is the coherent composition of the group. Intellectual clusters are often favored, as are mixes of senior and junior fellows, domestic and international fellows, and fellows based inside and outside law schools.

One of the general fellows, who will teach an undergraduate course through LAPA, will be named the Martin and Kathleen Crane Fellow in Law and Public Affairs.

LAPA/Perkins Fellow in Law and Humanistic Inquiry for Early Career Scholars

This fellowship is designed for a promising interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersection of law and humanistic inquiry.

Eligibility for this fellowship is limited to those who are a) within five years of receiving a terminal degree, b) in an academic position pre-tenure or c) starting over in a new field. (This latter category would include humanists who have moved (post-tenure) into law or law professors who have moved (post-tenure) into the humanities. It might also include people in other less predictable transitions – from practicing lawyer to academic, for example.

The fellow must work centrally in law, but should also show some substantial commitment to humanistic scholarship. This could be reflected in a Ph.D. in a humanities field (literature, history, philosophy, the arts, for example) or humanistic scholarship in a non-humanities Ph.D. field (anthropology, sociology, politics, for example). The LAPA/Humanities fellow would not have to have a Ph.D. in a related field as long as her/his scholarship showed substantial competence in humanistic work and as long as the candidate has an appropriate terminal degree (a J.D., for example).

Qualitative or theoretically oriented research in social science disciplines like anthropology, sociology and political science are also acceptable so long as the central engagement focuses on law issues.

Applicants applying for this fellowship do not prejudice their consideration for a general fellowship if not selected as the LAPA/Perkins Fellow. The terms and conditions are the same for all fellows.

The LAPA/Perkins fellowship is a collaboration of LAPA and the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University.



Call for Applications: 2015 Visiting PhD Scholar Program

The Centre for International Governance and Justice at the Regulatory Institutions Network of the Australian National University invites applications from talented Australian and international PhD scholars enrolled at other universities to visit the Centre between January and December 2015.

Between 2 and 4 visiting scholarships for periods of between six to eight weeks will be awarded in 2015. The program encourages visiting PhD scholars to participate actively in the Centre’s research life, and to learn about and engage with research being undertaken towards ‘Strengthening the International Human Rights System’.

The PhD scholars who have spent time at the Centre to date have greatly enriched our community of scholars and have forged lasting ties with our members. During their stay, each visiting PhD scholar has presented a research seminar, and nearly all have contributed to the project’s blog, ‘Regarding Rights’