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Edward Sapir Book Prize

The Edward Sapir Book Prize was established in 2001 and is awarded to a book that makes the most significant contribution to our understanding of language in society, or the ways in which language mediates historical or contemporary sociocultural processes.

*Now awarded every two years

Winners of the Edward Sapir Book Prize


Susan Gal and Judith Irvine for Signs of Difference: Language and Ideology in Social Life

Honorable Mention: Inge Kral and Elizabeth Marrkilyi Giles Ellis for In the Time of Their Lives. Wangka kutjupa-kutjuparringu: How talk has changed in the Western Desert

Honorable Mention: Aurora Donzelli for Methods of Desire: Language, Mortality and Affect in Neoliberal Indonesia


Charles Goodwin for Cooperative Action: Learning in Doing, Social, Cognitive, and Computational Perspectives


Kathryn Woolard for Singular and Plural: Ideologies of Linguistic Authority in 21st Century Catalonia

Honorable mention: Sonia Das, for Linguistic Rivalries: Tamil Migrants and Anglo-Franco Conflicts

Honorable mention: Erika Hoffmann-Dilloway, for Signing and Belonging in Nepal


Angela Reyes and Stanton Wortham, for Discourse Analysis beyond the Speech Event


Kristina Wirtz, for Performing Afro-Cuba: Image, Voice, Spectacle in the Making of Race and History.


Francis Cody, for The Light of Knowledge: Literacy Activism and the Politics of Writing in South India.

Nicholas Harkness, for Songs of Seoul An Ethnography of Voice and Voicing in Christian South Korea.


Paul Manning, for Semiotics of Drink and Drinking.


Summerson Carr, for Scripting Addiction: The Politics of Therapeutic Talk and American Sobriety.


William F. Hanks, for Converting Words: Maya in the Age of the Cross.

Honorable mention: Bernard Bate, for Tamil Oratory and the Dravidian Aesthetic.

Honorable mention: Niko Besnier, for Gossip and the Everyday Production of Politics.


Asif Agha, for Language and Social Relations.


Richard Bauman and Charles Briggs, for Voices of Modernity: Language Ideologies and the Politics of Inequality.


Robert Bringhurst and his posthumous co-authors Ghandl and Skaay, for the three-volume work Masterworks of the Classical Haida Mythtellers.

Honorable mention: Dennis Tedlock, for Rabinal Achi: A Mayan Drama of War and Sacrifice.


Alexandra Jaffe, for Ideologies in Action: Language Politics on Corsica.

Honorable mention: Laura Ahearn, for Invitations to Love: Literacy, Love Letters, and Social Change in Nepal.