Arianna Huhn, assistant professor of anthropology, has been named the recipient of the Terence Ranger Prize, an international honor given annually to the author of the best article by an early career scholar published in the Journal of Southern African Studies.

Huhn’s award-winning article, “Enacting Compassion: Hot/Cold, Illness and Taboos in Northern Mozambique,” was published in the Feb. 28, 2017, volume 43, issue 2.

“I feel extremely honored to be this year’s recipient of the Terence Ranger Prize,” said Huhn, who is also director of the university’s Anthropology Museum. “The Journal of Southern African Studies is a premier publication for scholars from many disciplines who work in southern Africa. I was really pleased just to have my work published in the journal. News of the award was unexpected.”

The winning article focuses on a small town in northern Mozambique. Like many places in southern Africa, Huhn found that people were labeled with metaphysical temperatures “hot” and “cold.” Those who were “hot” had the ability to harm others who were “cold” through missteps in rules governing sexual activity and cooking. Huhn’s article shifts the standard analysis of this common taboo complex from the rules themselves to context and practice.

“The Award Committee found her article to be an excellent piece that is based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, and is written up in a sensitive and reflexive manner,” members of the journal’s editorial board said on its website. “It is persuasively argued, and makes a valuable contribution to the body of work on the anthropology of ethics in Southern Africa.”

The award is named after Terence Osborne Ranger (1929-2015), a pioneering African historian and long-standing member of the Southern African Studies editorial board. In his obituary, The Guardian newspaper wrote: “Throughout his career, Terry brought African history into mainstream institutions and debates: he was the first Africanist fellow of the British Academy and the first historian of Africa to sit on the board of the historical journal Past and Present; he co-edited major collections, the most influential being The Invention of Tradition (1983) with Eric Hobsbawm. His contribution to Africanist institution-building was also important. He was co-founder of the Britain-Zimbabwe Society, president of the African Studies Association of the UK, and a key figure in innumerable journals and societies.”

The Journal of Southern African Studies “is an international publication for work of high academic quality on issues of interest and concern in the region of Southern Africa,” the journal’s website states. “It aims to generate fresh scholarly research in the fields of history, economics, sociology, demography, social anthropology, geography, development studies, administration, law, political science, political economy, international relations, literature, cultural studies, and the natural sciences in so far as they relate to the human condition.”

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