A book by Chandra Bhimull, associate professor of anthropology and African-American studies, has been awarded honorable mention in the 2019 American Ethnological Society Sharon Stephens Prize competition. Bhimull’s book Empire in the Air: Airline Travel and the African Diaspora (2017, NYU Press) examines the role that race played in the inception of the airline industry.

“This important topic is in the hands of a poet who has crafted a style of writing that is both exquisite and compelling, revealing the literary dimensions of anthropology,” selection committee member Shirley Lindenbaum writes. “The committee found [Dr. Bhimull’s] writing poetic and [her] consideration of the intersection of race and state power in the creation of air travel wonderfully imaginative and illuminating,” Katherine McCaffrey, chair of the selection committee, wrote in an email notification. 

Bhimull’s book was also awarded honorable mention in the 2019 Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, given by the Society for Humanistic Anthropology.