Bard Associate Professor of Anthropology Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins’ first book Waste Siege: The Life of Infrastructure in Palestine
(Stanford, 2019) has won the 2021 American Anthropological Association’s Middle East Section (MES) Book Award, which is the second major award the book has received. “Waste Siege
exemplifies ethnography’s capacity to mediate between the universal and the particular and between the global and the local,” writes the prize committee to her. “You offer a riveting and theoretically capacious engagement with the infrastructural, environmental, moral, and aesthetic dimensions of waste, all the while problematizing the boundaries implied by these categories. The ethnography’s meticulous attention to empirical detail, coupled with expansive multidisciplinary framing, make it a ‘must-read’ across domains of expertise and disciplinary commitments. The committee was especially struck by your subtle yet insistent commitment to documenting devastating and mundane dimensions of life under Occupation while also positioning Palestine as a lens for understanding worldwide and human dilemmas in the face of environmental collapse.” She will be celebrated at the MES business meeting and awards ceremony.
The Middle East Section Book Award is awarded biennially to an anthropological work (single- or multi-authored, but not edited volumes) that speaks to issues in a way that holds relevance beyond our subfield. Criteria may include: innovative approaches, theoretical sophistication, and topical originality.
Her book also won the Middle East Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Book Award