The Association for Feminist Anthropology is delighted to announce the 2016 recipients of the Sylvia Forman Prize for Student Papers. The committee selected two winners and two honorable mentions from an unusually high number of submissions this year. We take this as a wonderful sign of the health of our field, and are honored to reward the outstanding scholarship we considered.
The Association will celebrate their fine work and their faculty advisors’ mentorship at the AFA Business Meeting, 12pm, November 18, in Minneapolis. Please join us!
The Honorable Mention for the Sylvia Forman Prize for outstanding undergraduate student paper will be awarded to Nana Charlene Elfreda Adubea Toa-Kwapong, for her paper “Taking it Back to the Motherland: The Gendered Frictions of Return Migration to Accra, Ghana,” advisor Olga Gonzalez, (Macalester College).
Toa-Kwapong’s paper centers the perspectives of Afro-diasporic migrants who make their way back to the African continent, particularly to Accra, Ghana, after sojourns in the West. Like any other type of mobility, return migration is gendered. As a result of their transnational lifestyles, Accra’s returnees find themselves in the position of balancing Western and local gender norms. They must manage ideals of successful return, with women expected to forfeit parts of their autonomy and men burdened with the expectation to step into the role of provider and the financial obligations of this role. While men tend to fare better in professional contexts, women returnees find themselves in male-dominated work spaces, where outdated gender dynamics give rise to social situations like the growing sugar-daddy phenomenon. While the lines between the personal and professional can be blurry, this does not deter single returnees from trying find both success and love in Accra. They develop strategies, both individual and collective, to facilitate these processes. Returnee women, in particular become major “social actors” (Ortner 1996:116), using their positionality to challenge patriarchal norms. By connecting the dots between identity, geography, gender, and culture as they are experienced by African returnees to Accra, this paper aims to provide a space for returnees − particularly women − an opportunity to narrate their own stories and present their own realities.
For a list of previous winners click here
For more information about the awards and how to apply next year click here