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Department of Social Anthropology


Judging the Competition

This year's judges, Adam SmithTimothy Cooper, and Naomi Richman commented on the high standard and number of entrants this year, reflecting the popularity of this celebration amongst students and throughout the Department.

The entries were all excellent in quality, as well as very diverse in their strengths, reflecting the broad range of research being undertaken.  We are grateful to all students for submitting their entries.

The prizewinners this year are, in a tie for first place, Sally Montgomery and Devi Chakrabarti, in second place, Christie Van Tinteren, and in equal third place, Joao Kelmer and Sarthak Malhotra.


Joint first place, Sally Montgomery - Freediving: Immersion and the Cultivation of Belonging 

Sally's ethnographic research is concerned with understanding the human-environment encounters on Lord Howe Island, Australia. The concept of belonging emerged throughout my fieldwork as a key theme relating to both human and non-human life on the Island. She considers the notion of belonging as it emerges through practices including ‘pest’ and ‘weed’ eradication; biosecurity protocols; endemic species conservation; environmental tourism; and articulations of kinship-based ‘nativeness’.

Being a small Island, the lifeways of people on Lord Howe are intimately bound to the surrounding ocean which is a force that shapes their daily lives. The waters surrounding the Island are listed as a conservation Marine Park and they are a key site for leisure and commercial activities including fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling, beachcombing, boating, and freediving.





Joint first place,  Devi Chakrabarti - The Afterlives of a Disaster: Post-Earthquake Reconstruction and Spiritual Life in Bhaktapur, Nepal. 

Devi explores the unexpected interconnections between devotional life and post-earthquake reconstruction in Bhaktapur, Nepal, one of the world’s most distinctive reconstruction sites, where a Communist municipal government has committed the locality’s resources to the rebuilding of worship sites. Her project is concerned with the remarkable initiatives to rebuild the many structures that were demolished in the 2015 earthquakes, being undertaken in Nepal’s most important centre of spiritual activity and principal international tourist destination. Her key focus is on understanding how rebuilding projects are experienced as affective spiritual initiatives, and how restoration activities relate to my interlocutors’ perception of the city’s entwining of material and sacred geographies. 



This year's entrants:

Christie van Tinteren

Devi Chakrabarti

Edurne Sosa El Fakih

Fang Liu

Hairuo Jin

Jenny Tang

João Kelmer

Lucia Tremonti

Maria Lartigue-Marin

Radina Kostadinova

Sakari Mesimaki

Sally Montgomery

Sarthak Malhotra

Shradha Lama

Theo Hughes-Morgan

Theo Stapleton

Xintian Ma

Zoljargal Enkh-Amgalan