Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists
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Recognizing Excellence in Practitioner Anthropology:

The Praxis Award

General Information

Since 1981, the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists (WAPA) biennial Praxis Award has recognized outstanding achievement in translating anthropological knowledge into action as reflected in a single project or specific endeavor. Ideal candidates are anthropologists who can demonstrate the value of anthropological knowledge, theory and methods to solve problems in government and industry (including both profit and non-profit sectors). 

Projects or endeavors may be ongoing at the time of application. If the project has concluded, no more than 3 years should have passed between the project conclusion and the application receipt. Exceptions will be made for extraordinary projects and efforts. However, this is not a career or lifetime achievement award, but one that recognizes the value of applying anthropology to specific problems and projects.

Applications should clearly demonstrate how the applicant used anthropology to effectively address contemporary human problems. The competition for this prestigious award is open to anyone holding an MA or PhD in any subfield of anthropology. WAPA strongly encourages self-nominations from individuals, groups or organizations wherein at least one anthropologist worked on and influenced the designated project. Entries are encouraged from anthropologists worldwide. All entries will be evaluated by an expert panel of anthropological practitioners.

It is very important to be familiar with the award guidelines. Each cycle, very promising and noteworthy applications fall short of success because they do not adequately demonstrate how anthropology was meaningfully incorporated into the effort. Other applications are obviously a quick re-purposing of existing documents. The submission of a pre-entry form serves to determine whether the pursuit of a full application is in your interest.

Award recipients receive a $1000 stipend, and are recognized after the Business Meeting of the National Association for the Practice of Anthropology (NAPA) held during the annual American Anthropological Association (AAA) meeting.

Application information is available under the Guidelines link in this section. The submission of a 2-pp pre-entry form is strongly encouraged. Full nominations must include a cover page and a 5 to 10-page descriptive essay. Entries will be strengthened by supporting letters, public testimonials and media releases from project clients and beneficiaries (not colleagues).

To better understand the types of achievements that merit the award, see the Praxis Award Recipients document, which lists all prior winners and links to the abstracts of their competition entries.

Winners may be asked to give a presentation for WAPA and/or contribute a chapter to a future edition of Anthropological Practice: Translating Knowledge into Action (Robert M. Wulff and Shirley J. Fiske, Eds.).

Updated 7 December 2017

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