SCA is proud to award the sixth annual Cultural Horizons Prize to SHAO Jing (Nanjing University) for his article “Fluid Labor and Blood Money:The Economy of HIV/AIDS in Rural Central China” (Cultural Anthropology Nov. 2006, Vol. 21, No. 4: 535-569).
"Fluid Labor and Blood Money" portrays several overlapping levels of the circulation of human plasma, the origins and consequences of the HIV epidemic, and the author's own involvement in the aftermath during his fieldwork starting in 2003. This ethnographically grounded study of an epidemic shows that “biotechnology broadly defined can be powerfully refracted by local configurations of economy, technology, and social relations” in China’s liberalized economy.
The 2006 doctoral student jury--Joanna Davidson (Emory U), Maria McMath (Princeton U) and Erkan Saka (Rice U)--writes that the article, "combines rich ethnographic detail and vivid portrayals of real lives with broad and cogent historical, social, economic and cultural analyses. SHAO Jing demonstrates that one mode of ethnographic writing need not be sacrificed or constrained by the other. The writing style is refreshingly clear and powerful; he offers complex theoretical analyses without resorting to obscurantist language. He writes simply and intimately, without giving in to sentimentality or casting characters as “victims” and “perpetrators.” Likewise, he masterfully explores how global neo-liberal policies impact local communities, going well beyond conventional evocations of neoliberalism and simple, suggestive links between the global and the local . . . . SHAO Jing’s article represents the best of a critical, engaged, and imaginative cultural anthropology."
About the Cultural Horizons Prize
The SCA has long been distinguished by having the largest graduate student membership of any section of the AAA. Recognizing that doctoral students are among the most experimentally minded--and often among the best read--of ethnographic writers, this award asks of SCA's graduate student readers, "Who is on your reading horizon?"
This spirit gave rise to the Cultural Horizons Prize, awarded yearly by a jury of doctoral students for the best article appearing in Cultural Anthropology.