This year CMA Awards will be presented at a Zoom Awards Ceremony, TODAY 

Wednesday, 10 November 2021 , 9pm EST / 8pm CST / 7pm MST/6pm PST (UTC: 11 Nov 2021 2:00am)

Please come and toast the winners!

Please register and join us for the CMA Awards Zoom. In addition to the presentation of awards by the CMA Board, award winners will be invited to speak. There will be time at the end for attendees to speak. 

Register here.

We’re delighted to announce the winners of this year’s Council for Museum Anthropology awards. We thank the CMA Awards Committee (Cara Krmpotich, Catherine Nichols, Laura Peers. and Adrian Van Allen), and the CMA Book Award Committee (Jennifer Kramer (Chair), Christy DeLair, Laura Peers, and Carolyn Heitman) for their dedicated work on this.

2021 Council for Museum Anthropology Michael M. Ames Prize for Innovative Museum Anthropology

The CMA is extremely pleased to announce the winner of the 2021 Council for Museum Anthropology Michael M. Ames Prize for Innovative Museum Anthropology: Nicola Levell, University of British Columbia, for her exhibition, associated catalogue, educational programming, and virtual platform, “Shadows, Strings & Other Things” –and her book on this work, Bodies of Enchantment. Thanks to all who submitted nominations for consideration, and congratulations to Nicola and all associated with the project. 

Through puppetry, Levell’s project showcases seven modes through which visitors and scholars experience the (im)material cultural heritage of puppetry and exhibit making, including an onsite gallery, digital 3D scans of the exhibit, videos, podcasts, virtual reality, an open access gallery guide, and the Bodies of Enchantment book. This multi-modal project offers a compelling model for anthropologists engaging in multi-faceted scholarship and public engagement. Multiple aspects of museum operations are evident in the project’s design and execution: from sensitive collecting and documentation, to curation, to theatrical and creative public programming, to the multi-purpose digital platform that extended and archived the temporary exhibition. 

“Shadows, Strings & Other Things” is an exemplar of how museum anthropology generatively troubles easy distinctions between tangible and intangible culture; animacy and object; and how it brings into public conversation ontological queries about things-belongings-beings. Levell’s museological practice does not shy away from politics and the pressing need to unsettle Western hegemonic structures, nor is it anchored in an ahistorical and disengaged formation—rather it invokes the core principles of Michael Ames’ efforts to decolonize and democratize museums.

2021 Council for Museum Anthropology Lifetime Achievement/Distinguished Service Award

The CMA is delighted to announce the winner of the 2021 Council for Museum Anthropology Lifetime Achievement/Distinguished Service Award: Corinne A. Kratz, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and African Studies Emerita at Emory University, and Emory Director for the African Critical Inquiry Program. Thanks to all who submitted nominations for consideration. 

Kratz’s academic work spans a lifetime of scholarly and engaged anthropological achievement. Over the course of her near 50-year career, Kratz has redefined both museum anthropology and critical museology, especially at the intersections between these fields and African Studies. Kratz is the author of the award-winning book The Ones That Are Wanted: Communication and the Politics of Representation in a Photographic Exhibition, which is a description of, and extended critical reflection upon, Kratz’s own exhibition ‘Okiek Portraits,’ a traveling exhibition of fieldwork photographs taken during her work with the Kaplelach and Kipchornwonek Okiek people of South-central Kenya. Including tri-lingual captions, short dialogues between Kratz and her Okiek interlocutors, and the use of color photographs, the exhibition challenged earlier visual stereotypes of the Okiek. Based on the failures and successes of the exhibition as it traveled around the United States, Kratz’s ethnography was one of the first book-length studies to take seriously the idea that an exhibition may be engaged as an anthropological ‘field site’ in its own right. It is a seminal study for visual anthropology and critical museology, and exemplifies participatory and collaborative methodologies while taking seriously the dynamics and contexts of visitors and institutions. In addition, Kratz is a lead editor on the landmark volume Museum Frictions: Public Cultures/Global Transformations, one of the most important contributions to critical museology of recent decades.

Kratz’s impact on a global community of scholars is also evident in her mentorship, especially her support of African Early Career Researchers. In addition to mentoring young scholars at Emory University, Kratz’s service and mentoring activities extended transnationally to the Institutions of Public Culture Program, a partnership between the Center for the Study of Public Scholarship at Emory and South African cultural institutions. Following Ivan Karp’s death in 2011, Kratz carried forward their joint commitment to developing public intellectual life in Africa by establishing the Ivan Karp and Corinne Kratz Fund. The Fund supported the creation of the African Critical Inquiry Program, which provides research funding for African doctoral students from across the continent and sponsors innovative annual workshops in South Africa. We honor her generosity of spirit and time, and her indelible human connection with a global community of colleagues. 

2021 Council for Museum Anthropology Book Award 

The Council for Museum Anthropology is most pleased to announce that Jason M. Gibson has won the 2021 CMA Book Award for Ceremony Men: Making Ethnography and the Return of The Strehlow Collection (SUNY Press: Albany, NY, 2020).  In this deftly reflexive and sensitive work, Gibson analyzes the historical colonial context for the collection of central Australian men’s songs, stories, and ceremony by linguist/ anthropologist T.G.H. Strehlow. Gibson redresses the anthropological myth of Strehlow as heroic salvager and replaces it with an awareness of the intentional co-creation of this archive by Anmatyerr and Arrernte ceremonial specialists who actively allowed their secret and sacred knowledge to be recorded for posterity. Through ethnographically specific, place-based exchanges with contemporary Anmatyerr ritual knowledge holders, Gibson offers a nuanced understanding of authority, ownership, and reciprocity that emerge around this significant archive and the significance of its holdings to Anmatyerr men today. Eschewing simplistic repatriation rhetoric and grounded in rich fieldwork and Anmatyerr ritual knowledge holders’ perspectives and voices, this ethnography intimately details the challenges and opportunities in co-stewarding this collection into the future. Thanks to all who submitted nominations and Congratulations Jason!

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