The SCA is proud to award the 2014 Cultural Horizons Prize to Kevin Lewis O'Neill (University of Toronto) for his article, "Left Behind: Security, Salvation, and the Subject of Prevention," Cultural Anthropology 28, no. 2 (2013): 204–26.
Focused on a nonprofit organization of evangelical Christians in North Carolina and the “at-risk children” they sponsor in “one of postwar Guatemala City’s most violent neighborhoods,” the article beautifully weaves together ethnographic insights, literature, and compelling reflections on contemporary U.S. politics and projects of self-fashioning, to articulate how and why evangelical Christians in North Carolina come to need the children they sponsor as much as the children may need them. “Our relationships with [the people of La Paloma],” his participants tell him, “will liberate them and will liberate us.” O’Neill argues that “it is this need, this liberation, which . . . constitutes the sponsored child as a privileged site for ethical self-formation" and which positions “at risk children” as sites for “secur[ing] the Americas one child at a time.” Describing the sponsored children as examples of “the subject of prevention: the individual imagined or acted upon by the imperative to prevent,” O’Neill demonstrates how broad anxieties and projects of international security are conducted through micro-interactions of nonprofit organizations like these and the children they hope to save.
The Cultural Horizons Prize is awarded annually at the meeting of the American Anthropological Association and carries a honorarium of $500. This year's doctoral student jury included Ivan Sandoval-Cervantes (Unversity of Oregon), Jessica Lockrem (Rice University), and Britt Dahlberg (University of Pennsylvania).