MIT Anthropology James Howe Prize

Deadline April 4, 2014

Seeking paper submissions from current MIT undergraduate students on any topic written for coursework in MIT Anthropology. Submissions will be evaluated on their originality, scholarly content, and the effectiveness of their writing. Students should submit papers to Entries will be judged by a faculty committee.

The winner will receive a $500 award and will be featured on the MIT Anthropology website. The winner will be announced on May 7, 2014.

About the Prize

The annual James Howe Prize honors the contributions of Professor of Anthropology James Howe, who retired in 2012. Professor Howe's scholarship has focused on the history and political struggles of the indigenous Kuna population in Panama. A renowned photographer and political activist, not only has Howe's ethnographic work supported the rights of the Kuna people, as a longstanding board member of Cultural Survival — an organization that provides support to and advocates on behalf of the linguistic, cultural, and property rights of indigenous populations around the world — Howe has promoted human rights throughout his distinguished career.

Guidelines for Submission

Students may submit multiple entries. The topic is open.

Entries written for MIT Anthropology classes or as part of an undergraduate anthropology thesis (i.e. a thesis chapter) are eligible. Papers may be revised since submission for grading.

Works that have been published previously are not eligible for submission.

Papers may not exceed 25 double-spaced pages.

Submissions must include the title and bibliography, although the studentís name should not appear anywhere on the paper itself.

Each paper should be submitted with a cover sheet that includes:

  • Student name:
  • Submission title:
  • Anthropology subject for which the submission was produced:
  • Major:
  • Expected year of graduation:
  • Email address:
  • Phone number:
  • Student ID number:

Please submit entries and cover sheets to:

Please address questions to

2013 James Howe Prize winner: Iris Sheu

Howe Prize winner Iris Sheu with Anthropology facultyMIT Anthropology is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2013 James Howe Prize is Iris Sheu for her paper entitled "Patient Barriers to Mental Health Care for the Cambodian Population in Lowell, MA." Iris's paper was originally written for the Spring 2012 subject, 21A.300 Practicum in Global Health and Development. The selection prize committee recognizes the caliber of Iris's writing, the originality of her field research, her attention to history and judicious use of social theory, as well as the paper's contribution to contemporary literatures on immigrants and refugees. By suggesting interventions to improve communications between Cambodian populations and health care providers, her paper offers practical solutions to reduce disparities of health status and treatment affecting these populations in the United States. Finally, Iris Sheu's essay demonstrates how ethnographic methods can contribute to understandings of social experience more generally. In so doing, she has embodied the spirit of James Howe's exemplary writings. Congratulations!

The James Howe Prize is awarded each spring — students interested in submitting work for the Prize can check back on this page for updated deadlines and information at the beginning of the spring semester.

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