The Kenneth W. Payne Student Prize

Click here for information about the winners of the 2017 Kenneth W. Payne Student Prize!

The Kenneth W. Payne Student Prize is presented each year by the Association for Queer Anthropology (AQA) to a graduate or undergraduate student in acknowledgement of outstanding anthropological work on 1) a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender topic, or 2) a critical interrogation of sexualities and genders more broadly defined. Papers are judged according to the following criteria: use of relevant L/G/B/T/Q and/or feminist anthropological theory and literature, potential for contribution to and advancement of queer studies and our understanding of sexualities worldwide, attention to difference (gender, class, race, ethnicity, nation), originality, organization and coherence, and timeliness.

Payne Prize Winners


William Hébert (University of Toronto)
“Prisoners of Paradox: Trans Figures in the Canadian Prison”

Honorable Mentions:

Annie Wilkinson (University of California, Irvine)
“Cleanliness is Holiness: The Transnational Ex-Gay Movement and ‘Dehomosexualization’ in Ecuador”

Danmei (Melanie) Xu (Carleton College)
“Of Exigencies and Erasure: Becoming Lala in Queer Urban China”


Michael Pierson (MAPSS – University of Chicago)
“Viscous Frictions and Vagabond Friendships: Affecting Public Intimacy at Salonathon”


Shunyuan Zhang (Emory University)
“Debris and Desire: Negotiating Erotic Spaces in Kunming, China”

Honorable Mention:

Erin Durbin-Albrecht (Illinois State University)
“The Sexual Politics of Rescue: The Global LGBTQI and Postcolonial Homophobia after the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti”


Brandon Davis (Princeton University)
“Desiring Israel: Gays, Jews and Homonationalism”

Honorable Mentions:

Janelle Lamoreaux (University of California San Francisco/Berkeley)
“Fishing for Affinity: Genders Benders and Environmental Activism in China”

Jack Dunn (King’s College, University of Cambridge)
“Fields of Masculinity: Imagining Queer Masculinity in Photography”


Natalie Newton (University of California, Irvine)
“Contingent Invisibility: Space, Community, and Invisibility for Les in Saigon”

Honorable Mentions:

Ryan Richard Thoreson (Oxford University)
“On Panics, Pronouns, and Power: Transnational LGBT NGOs as Nodes in Networks of Knowledge”

Jake Silver (Reed College)
“Intimacy and Assemblage: The Commodity of Queerness in Israel and Abroad”


Eric Plemons (University of California-Berkeley)
“Sexing the Face: Of Bones and Other Materials in the Making of Facial Feminization Surgery”

Jia Hui Lee (HarvardUniversity)
“‘Accept them as they are’: Lelaki Lembut as a Category of Effeminacy in Malaysia”

Honorable Mention:

Delwar Hussain (Kings College, Cambridge University)
“‘We Have the Bodies of Men, but the Hearts and Minds of Females’: Sexual Lives and Respectability on the Bangladesh-India Border”


Zethu Matebeni (Witwatersrand Institute for Social and Economic Research)
“It’s all about 50/50: Sex, intimacy and pleasure in black lesbian relationships in Johannesburg.”

Honorable Mentions:

Ben Colburn (Brown University)
Standards: Observations on the Production of Political Rifts Within Transgender Communities in the Greater Boston Area.”

Randall Jenson’s (DePaul University)
50 Faggots (documentary film)


Gregory Mitchell (Northwestern University)
“TurboConsumers™ in Paradise: Neoliberalism, Civil Rights, and Brazil’s Gay Sex Tourist Industry”

Honorable Mentions: 

Layoung Shin (SUNY Binghamton)
“Becoming ‘Authentic’ Iban within ‘Contagious’ Iban Culture: Young Women’s Same Sex Relationship in South Korea”

Alexis Matza (University of Iowa)
“Maskulinity: The Strategic Use of Gender by Men”


Jennifer L. Chase (UC Irvine)
“The Bird Carried Across:  Traditional Families, Modern Sex, and Belonging in Germany”


John Cho (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
“The Wedding Banquet Revisited: ‘Contract Marriages’ Between Korean Gays and Lesbians”

Chris Tan (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
“‘But They are Like You and Me’: Gay Civil Servants and Citizenship in a Cosmopolitanizing Singapore.

Honorable Mention:

Ryan Thoreson (Oxford University)
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow Nation: Gay and Lesbian Rights in South Africa After a Decade of Democracy”


Lucinda Ramberg (UC Berkeley)
“Medicalizing the Sacred Body: Subaltern Religiosity and Postcolonial Reform in South India”

Honorable Mention:

Natasha Sandraya Wilson (University of Iowa)
“Queer Situation: Poverty, Prisons, and Performances of Infidelity and Instability in the New Orleans Lesbian Anthem”


Tomi Castle (University of Iowa)
“Sexualizing Citizenship: Identity Politics and Notions of the ‘Ideal Citizen’ in a Brazilian Lesbian Rights Organization.”


Marcia Ochoa (Stanford University)
“Perverse Citizenship: Divas, Marginality, and Participation in ‘Loca-lization’”

Anthony Petro (University of Chicago)
“The Methodist Church, Progressive Politics, and God’s Love Subjects: Gay and Lesbian Activism in a Chicago Methodist Church”


Sam Bullington (University of Minnesota)
“The Devil’s Deal of Cape Town: Race, Sexulaity, and the Limits of the Nation in Contemporary South Africa”


Alyssa Cymene Howe (University of New Mexico)
“Queers and Televisionaries: The Strategics of Sexuality in Neoliberal Nicaragua”


Lauren Hasten (Columbia University)
“Gender Pretenders: A Drag King Ethnography”


Constance Sullivan-Blum (SUNY Binghamton)
“‘Child Molesters, Murderers, and Republicans’: Accepting Gay and Lesbian People into the ‘Full Life Church’”


Niels Teunis (Northwestern University)
“Homosexuality in Dakar: Is the Bed the Heart of a Sexual Subculture?”
Printed in Journal of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Identities 1(2): 153–169.

Peter A. Newman (University of Michigan)


Patrick Larvie (University of Chicago)


Deborah A. Elliston (New York University)
“‘Ritualized Homosexuality’ in Anthropology: Critiquing a Concept, Re-Situating Practice”


Martin F. Manalansan IV (University of Rochester)
“(R)effacing the ‘Gay’ Filipino: Resistance, Postcolonialsim, and Identity”

Robert J. Morris
“Smoking the Image: The Systematic Censoring of Homotextuality from the Canon of ‘Hawaiiana’”


Dwayne C. Turner (UCLA)
“You Can Only Lead If We Follow: Internal Struggle of an AIDS Activist Group”


Carolyn White (University of Wisconsin)
“The Making of History: A Political Process”


Raleigh Watts (University of Washington)
“Gender Variance among Male Polynesians”


Scott Bravman (UC Santa Cruz)
“Anthropology as Politics: Language, Culture and Lesbian/Gay Theorizing”