Ben Bridges Wins Warren E. Roberts Prize for Best Student Paper in Folk Arts and Material Culture

Annual Meeting News, Prizes
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The 2022 Warren E. Roberts prize for best student paper, sponsored by the Folk Arts and Material Culture Section, was awarded to Ben Bridges (PhD Candidate, Department of Folklore & Ethnomusicology, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington). The prize is awarded to the best submission (traditional essay or multimedia) written by an undergraduate or graduate student on any aspect of folk art or material culture (broadly construed). Essays are evaluated on their scholarly strength, incorporating solid research and analysis.

Bridges’ paper “Visualizing Alaska Native Sovereignty” draws on scholarship from cultural anthropology and linguistics to provide an ethnographic examination of Native material culture that contributes to growing conversations in the field regarding historic preservation, tourism, and indigenous aesthetics and perspectives. The author brings together a variety of texts—image, object, and language—that collectively form a compelling analysis of the material dimension of sovereignty. This case study demonstrates how material culture can serve as a means of resistance and reclamation, and as a proclamation of presence, in colonial landscapes of erasure. This examination is a timely contribution to folklore scholarship, pointing in a necessary direction for future work within the discipline.

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