Benda Prize

Harry J. Benda Prize

The Harry J. Benda Prize of the AAS is given annually to an outstanding newer scholar from any discipline or country specialization of Southeast Asian studies for a first book in the field. The award, which honors one of the pioneers in the field of Southeast Asian studies, has been presented since 1977.


$1,000 to the author.

Guidelines for Submission

  • Original, scholarly, nonfiction works in English with a copyright date of 2017 or 2018 are eligible for the 2020 prize.
  • Reference works, exhibition catalogs, translations, textbooks, essay collections, poetry, fiction, travel books, memoirs, or autobiographies are not eligible.
  • Nominators must send one copy of each nominated work, clearly labeled “Benda Prize,” to each of the committee members listed below.


Nominated books must be received by the committee members no later than August 1, 2019.

Benda Prize Committee

Erik Harms
Department of Anthropology
Yale University
10 Sachem Street
New Haven, CT 06510

Celia Lowe (Chair)
Department of Anthropology
Box 353100
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195

Tamara Loos
Department of History
450 McGraw Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

Geoff Robinson
Department of History
6265 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90019

2020 Awards


Sumit Mandal, Becoming Arab: Creole Histories and Modern Identity in the Malay World, Cambridge University Press
Honorable Mention

Juno ParreƱas, Decolonizing Extinction: The Work of Care in Orangutan Rehabilitation, Duke University Press

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