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Department of Social Anthropology


Every year, the Department awards a prize of £200 to the most outstanding IIB dissertation.

The prize is named in memory of Dr Sue Benson (1948-2005), an anthropologist whose work focused on issues of race, gender and the body, with field sites ranging from London to Nigeria and Ghana. She was one of the first scholars to develop a critique of the history and memory of the slave trade in Ghana, and in particular the memorial practices associated with former slave forts along its coast. This work combined the historical facts of the slave trade with the memory of Africans in the diaspora. Her publications include Ambiguous Ethnicity: Interracial Families in London (1981) and articles on images of race and ethnicity in public discourse in the United Kingdom, and on bodily practices such as tattooing.

Sue Benson lectured, supervised and directed studies in Cambridge for 26 years and was an inspiration both personally and intellectually for generations of students.

The Sue Benson Fund, from which the Prize is drawn, was jointly founded in 2005 by the Department of Social Anthropology in association with Murray Edwards College (previously New Hall where Dr Benson was a Fellow from 1979). 

Previous winners

2007 Patrick Bannister Hughes Hall ‘Regulating ‘Tradition’ South African Izangoma and the Traditional Health Practioners Act 2004
2008 Lys Alcayna Stevens Newnham College In the Shadow of man: an exploration of pan-Human perspectives in a Catalonian chimpanzee sanctuary
2009 Nicholas Evans and Eleanor Ryan King’s College and Corpus Christi College Meaningless Laughter? A Mumbai Physician’s Quest for World Peace and The View from the Old Bridge
2010 Paolo Heywood Sidney Sussex College The Two Burials of Aldo Moro: Sovereignity and Governmentality in the Anni di Piombo
2011 Shem Jarrold Pembroke College The Little Spirits of Antofagasta:  Popular Religion & Relations with the Dead in Chile
2012 Kate Huggett and Robin Irvine Jesus College and Corpus Christi College Family (Re)Negotiated: Aspirations for and Conceptions of Kinship in a community experiment in Post-Soviet Georgia and Thinking with animals: horses, dogs and Khiimor in Eastern Mongolia
2013 Mikkel Bruun and William Nyerere-Plastow Wolfson College and Robinson College The clinic, the client and care: psychologists in Copenhagen and their accounts of clinical practices and Learning to fight: reflections on an induction into British amateur boxing
2014 Tom Bell Selwyn College The ethics of Emmaus:  an exploration of identities, belongings and the dynamics of inclusion/exclusion within a troubled Emmaus Community in England
2015 Camille Lardy Sidney Sussex College Cognac Houses and Bottlenecks: Information Networks in the International Cognac Trade
2016 Theo Park King’s College An ethnography of the uses of data in Financial Services Consulting Firms in London
2017 Neria Aylward


Selfies and #Sealfies: Recent Inuit activism and technologies of self-representation in Nunavut, Canada
2018 Jamie Booth

King's College

An Ethnographic Study of a Mindfulness Course in the UK


Johanna Kinnock

Queens' College

The glass box": Accommodating addicted bodies in a café in Copenhagen

2020 Jacob Seagrave  Sydney Sussex College Protest in the face of catastrophe: Extinction Rebellion and the politics of grief
2021 Alice Draisey St Catharine’s College Peer-Led Family Support Groups for Addiction in the UK
2022 Tarina Franklin  Trinity Hall College Mind-Body Dualisms in Language and Body Image among Transmasculine Young Adults in Urban Finland
2023 Eleanor Burnett-Stuart Christ's College Situating humans in the landscape in the Scottish rewilding movement