Holmes wins Margaret Mead Award for bringing anthropology to bear on social issues

December 19, 2014

Seth Holmes receives Margaret Mead AwardSeth Holmes, assistant professor of public health and medical anthropology at UC Berkeley, has won the Margaret Mead Award, bestowed annually by the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the Society for Applied Anthropology (SFAA). The award is given to a younger scholar for a particular accomplishment, such as a book, film, monograph, or service, which interprets anthropological knowledge in ways that make them meaningful to a broadly concerned public.

Holmes was recognized for his book, Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States, which explores how market forces, anti-immigrant sentiment, and racism undermine health and health care for migrant farmworkers. The book is the culmination of Holmes’s five years in the field, one and a half of which he spent living and migrating full-time with indigenous Mexican migrants

 “This is a great honor for an anthropologist like myself who is interested, not only in impacting the discipline of anthropology, but also engaging the fields of public health, medicine, immigration studies, ethnic studies, as well as public policy and public perception of contemporary issues related to social inequalities and health,” said Holmes. “I hope this work will continue to have an impact on conversations about fair immigration policies, fair and sustainable international economic policies and practices, fair and sustainable labor policies and practices, fair and equal health policies and practices, the importance of social analysis in public health and health professional education, and the value of the labor that goes into the fresh fruit and vegetables we produce in the United States.”  

Holmes’s book was also recognized with the Society for the Anthropology of Work Book Award, the New Millennium Book Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology, and the Association for Humanist Sociology Book Award.  

Holmes is a cultural anthropologist and physician whose work focuses broadly on social hierarchies, health inequalities, and the ways in which such inequalities are naturalized and normalized in society and in health care. He is co-director of the MD/PhD Track in medical anthropology coordinated between UCSF and UC Berkeley, and director of the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine.

By Amabelle Ocampo