Eileen Basker Memorial Prize

Eileen Basker and sister, Chapel Hill, NC, April 1986The Eileen Basker Memorial Prize was founded by Virginia R. Dominguez in collaboration with the AAA’s Society for Medical Anthropology in 1987 following the death of Israeli-American critical medical anthropologist and feminist, Eileen Basker, in October 1986.

The SMA welcomes nominations for the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize, awarded annually for a significant contribution to scholarship on gender and health by scholars from any discipline or nation, for a specific book, article, film, or exceptional PhD thesis produced within the preceding three years. The Prize is awarded to the work judged to be the most courageous, significant, and potentially influential contribution to scholarship in the area of gender and health. Winners receive a $1000 cash award and are recognized at the SMA business meeting during the AAA.

Nominations are invited from one or more individuals in the form of a letter indicating the impact of the particular work on the field. Self-nomination is not permitted. Publishers of nominated books are expected to supply three copies of the relevant work to the Prize Committee.

Who was Eileen Basker?

EILEEN BASKER, 50, died of cancer October 16, 1986, at her home in Durham, North Carolina. Though for years on the faculty at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, she spent her last semester teaching medical anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. A native of San Francisco, she grew up in Los Angeles and attended LA high School before enrolling at Stanford (BA 1957). She spent her junior year as an exchange student at the Frei Universitat in Berlin (1955-56). After working briefly with Educational Testing Service, the Foundation for Voluntary Welfare and the journal of Political Research, she obtained her MA (1960) in social psychology from the New School for Social Research and shortly thereafter moved to Israel where she took a PhD (1981) in social anthropology at the Hebrew University. Eileen Basker was a pioneer medical anthropologist and feminist in the Israeli academic and medical worlds. While others worked on kibbutzim. moshavim and nonelite Jewish and Arab “ethnic groups” in Israel, she concerned herself with deciphering and critiquing Israel’s medical establishment. Of special concern to her were the social control of reproduction, mental health and parenting and the subordination of women in Israeli society. She wrote numerous articles in a wide variety of international journals and coauthored the first Hebrew-language introductory textbook in sociocultural anthropology (1978). Her last article, “De-Sexing Reproduction: Medical Control of Parenting” appeared after she had lost consciousness. She spent the last year of her life still actively conducting research on the ethics and politics of the new reproductive technologies. An officer of the Israel Anthropological Association for years, she was often the organizer of many of its activities. a role model for her students and an inspiration to her younger colleagues. She was relentlessly energetic. Always anxious and willing to help, an avid reader and doer committed to research (especially when it had the potential to affect institutional, societal and governmental policy). Friends and colleagues in Israel and the United States will sorely miss her love of learning and commitment to social change.

Award Details

The deadline for receipt of materials is yearly on July 1.  Enquiries and nominations for the award should be sent to the chair of the Basker Prize Committee:

Sarah Willen – sarah.willen@uconn.edu
Department of Anthropology
University of Connecticut
Beach Hall 438
Storrs, CT  06269-1176

The winners of the annual Basker Prize is as follows:

2012: Carole Browner And Carolyn Sargent– Reproduction, Globalization, And The State
2011: Ida Susser – Aids, Sex, And Culture;And Leslie Regan – Dangerous Pregnancies
2010: Elly Teman – Birthing The Mother
2009: Janelle Taylor – The Public Life Of The Fetal Sonogram
2008: Matt Gutmann – Fixing Men; and Kathy Davis – The Making Of Our Bodies Ourselves
2007: Sophie Day – On The Game
2006: Michele Rivkin-Fish – Women’s Health In Post-Soviet Russia
2005: Joao Biehl – Vita
2004: Sandra Morgen – Into Our Hands
2003: Caroline Bledsoe (And Fatoumatta Banja) – Contingent Lives
2002: Rhoda Kanaaneh – Birthing The Nation
2001:  Susan Kahn – Reproducing Jews
2000: Gelya Frank – Venus On Wheels
1999: Rayna Rapp – Testing Women, Testing The Fetus; and Adele Clarke – Disciplining Reproduction
1998: No Prize (As Per Decision Of The Selection Committee)
1997: Paul Farmer, Margaret Connors, and Janie Simmons – Women, Poverty, And Aids
1996: No Prize (As Per Decision Of The Selection Committee)
1995: Marcia Inhorn – Quest For Conception
1994: Margarete Sandelowski – With Child In Mind
1993: Barbara Duden – The Woman Beneath The Skin; and Margaret Lock – Encounters With Aging
1992: Nancy Scheper-Hughes – Death Without Weeping
1991: No Prize (Due To A Change In Personnel)
1990: Faye Ginsburg – Contested Lives
1989: Joan Jacobs Brumberg – Fasting Girls
1988: Emily Martin – The Woman In The Body

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