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 2018 or 2019 are eligible for the 2021 prize.
  • Reference works, exhibition catalogs, translations, textbooks, essay collections, poetry, fiction, travel books, memoirs, or autobiographies are not eligible.
  • Publishers must complete the book nomination form. Each press may nominate a maximum of six books for the Benda Prize.
  • Only publishers may nominate books.
  • Upon receipt of a completed nomination form, publishers will be provided with addresses for prize committee members. A copy of each entry, clearly labeled “Benda Prize,” must be sent to each member of the committee.


Nominations must be received by June 30, 2020 to be eligible for the 2021 awards.

Benda Prize Committee

Erik Harms (Chair)
Yale University

Doreen Lee
Northeastern University

Erik Braun
University of Virginia

2020 Awards


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

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