Sydney Anthropologist awarded three prestigious book prizes

14 June 2024
Dr. Sophie Chao takes home awards for West Papua Monograph
Dr. Sophie Chao, a DECRA Fellow and Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Sydney, has been recognised with three prestigious awards for her monograph, In the Shadow of the Palms: More-Than-Human Becomings in West Papua (Duke University Press, 2022).
Dr. Sophie Chao

Dr. Chao's groundbreaking work has earned her two Nautilus Book Awards and the 2024 ASAA ECR Book Prize.

Dr. Chao’s monograph was awarded Gold in the ‘Ecology & Environment’ category and received Special Honors in the ‘Best in Large Press’ category by the Nautilus Book Awards.

These awards celebrate literary works that foster conscious living, green values, and social change.

Past recipients of these awards include influential figures such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Malala Yousafzai, and Barbara Kingsolver, highlighting the significant impact of Dr. Chao's work.

In the Shadow of the Palms is based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in West Papua and examines how the Indigenous Marind People experience and contest the adverse impacts of mass deforestation and industrial oil palm plantation expansion.

The monograph offers critical insights into the more-than-human world, exploring the profound effects of environmental degradation on both human and non-human communities.

This work makes substantial contributions to anthropological and environmental humanities scholarship, particularly concerning anthropogenic landscape transformations.

Adding to her accolades, Dr. Chao's monograph was selected as the winner of the 2024 Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) Early Career Researcher Book Prize.

This is the sixth award received by Dr. Chao's monograph, alongside the two aforementioned Nautilus prizes, the 2023 Sharon Stephens Book Prize, 2023 Honorable Mention for the Book Prize in Critical Anthropology, and 2022 Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award. Collectively, these awards highlight the importance and relevance of Dr. Chao's work.

These awards collectively highlight the importance and relevance of Dr. Chao’s work.

Her achievements not only elevate the University of Sydney’s reputation for excellence in research but also bring critical attention to the environmental and social challenges faced by Indigenous communities in West Papua.

Dr. Chao’s recognition through these esteemed awards serves as a testament to her dedication and contribution to understanding the intricate relationship between humans and the environment.

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