Seth Holmes’s book chronicling the five years he spent in the field with indigenous Mexican migrants has recently received two awards acknowledging its significance in the field of anthropology: the 2013 New Millennium Book Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) and the 2013 Anthropology of Work Award from the Society for the Anthropology of Work (SAW).
Holmes, an assistant professor of public health and medical anthropology at UC Berkeley, published Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States (UC Press) in June 2013. The book explores how market forces, anti-immigrant sentiment, and racism undermine health and health care for migrant farmworkers.
The SMA New Millennium Book Award
The New Millennium Book Award was established by the SMA to recognize and promote excellence in medical anthropology, broadly defined. The New Millennium Book Award is made annually to a scholar within the field of medical anthropology for a solo-authored (or co-authored) book published since the beginning of the new millennium. The award is given to the author whose work is judged to be the most significant and potentially influential contribution to medical anthropology. Books of exceptional courage and potential impact beyond the field are given special consideration.
Holmes received the award along with a $500 cash prize at the 2013 American Anthropological Association meeting in Chicago in November.
The SAW Book Prize
The SAW Book Prize is awarded annually for a book in the anthropology of work selected as the best published in the past three years. The criteria are its relevance to the anthropology of work, the significance of the research, the clarity and effectiveness of the presentation, and the appeal to a wide audience in anthropology and beyond.
“As an MD as well as an anthropologist, Holmes practices advocacy anthropology,” wrote Eve Hochwald and Jim Weil, the Book Prize committee cochairs. “His analysis is particularly illuminating against the backdrop of current debates about industrial agriculture, health care priorities, and immigration reform.”
In 2013, SAW awarded the prize to two books, Holmes’s and Noelle Molé’s Labor Disorders in Neoliberal Italy: Mobbing, Well-Being, and the Workplace. From a SAW statement about the award: “Each of the two winners makes an important contribution to the anthropology of work and to the anthropology of public health. …they are outstanding examples of a broadly conceived anthropology of work with implications that extend well beyond traditional workplace boundaries.”
By Linda Anderberg