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Alan Merriam Prize
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Purpose: To recognize the most distinguished, published English-language monograph in the field of ethnomusicology.


Eligibility: The monograph must have been published in the previous two years (e.g., the 2017 prize will be given to a book published in 2015 or 2016). Second editions of monographs, edited collections, and textbooks are not eligible. No book will be considered more than once.

Prize: $300 cash prize.

Regularity: Annually.

Administration: The Merriam Prize Committee will consist of the Past-President or President-elect, as Chair, two members of the Society appointed by the SEM President, and the previous winner.

Application Process: Nominations, including self-nominations and nominations by presses, are made by sending four copies of the book to the committee Chair through the SEM Business Office. The committee may also nominate books to be considered. Applicants may submit only one title during an application cycle.

Application Deadline: April 1.

Send Application To: Chair, Alan Merriam Prize, c/o Business Office, Society for Ethnomusicology, 800 E. 3rd St, Bloomington, IN 47405-3657.




(Co-recipient) Chérie Rivers Ndaliko. Necessary Noise: Music, Film, and Charitable Imperialism in the East of Congo 

(Co-recipient) Gavin Steingo. Kwaito’s Promise: Music and the Aesthetics of Freedom in South Africa 


Martin J. Daughtry. Listening to War: Sound, Music, Trauma and Survival in Wartime Iraq (Oxford University Press).

(Honorable Mention) Noriko Manabe. The Revolution Will Not be Televised: Protest Music after Fukushima (Oxford University Press).

(Honorable Mention) Christina Sunardi. Stunning Males and Powerful Females: Gender and Tradition in East Javanese Dance (University of Illinois Press).


(Co-recipient) Ana María Ochoa Gautier. Aurality: Listening and Knowledge in Nineteenth Century Columbia. Duke University Press, 2014.

(Co-recipient) James Revell Carr. Hawaiian Music in Motion: Mariners, Missionaries, and Minstrels. University of Illinois Press, 2014.

(Honorable Mention) Moshe Morad. Fiesta De Diez Pesos: Music and Gay Identity in Special Period Cuba. Ashgate Publishing, 2014.


Anna Morcom. Illicit worlds of Indian dance: Cultures of exclusion. Hurst Publishers, 2013.


Carol Silverman. Romani Routes: Cultural Politics and Balkan Music in Diaspora. Oxford University Press, 2012.

(Honorable Mention) Travis Jackson. Blowin’ the Blues Away: Performance and Meaning on the New York Jazz Scene. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012. 


Sean Williams and Lillis Ó Laoire. Bright Star of the West: Joe Heaney, Irish Song Man. Oxford University Press, 2011.

(Honorable Mention)  Carol Ann Muller and Sathima Bea Benjamin. Musical Echoes: South African Women Thinking in Jazz.


Stokes, Martin. The Republic of Love: Cultural Intimacy in Turkish Popular Music. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2009.

(Honorable Mention) Rasmussen, Anne. Women, The Recited Qur’an and Islamic Music in Indonesia. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2010.

(Honorable Mention) Spiller, Henry. Erotic Triangles: Sundanese Dance and Masculinity in West Java. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.


(Co-recipient) Brinner, Benjamin. Playing Across a Divide: Israeli-Palestinian Musical Encounters. Oxford University Press, 2009.

(Co-recipient) Friedson, Steven. Remains of Ritual: Northern Gods in a Southern Land. The University of Chicago.


DjeDje, Jacqueline Cogdell Fiddling in West Africa: Touching the Spirit in Fulbe, Hausa, and Dagamba Cultures. Indiana University Press, 2008.


(Co-recipient) Hahn, Tomie. Sensational Knowledge: Embodying Culture through Japanese Dance. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2007.

(Co-recipient) Rommen, Timothy. "Mek Some Noise": Gospel Music and the Ethics of Style in Trinidad. University of California Press, 2007.


(Co-recipient) Gaunt, Kyra D. The Games Black Girls Play: Learning the Ropes from Double-Dutch to Hip-Hop. New York University Press, 2006.

(Co-recipient) Largey, Michael. Vodou Nation: Haitian Art Music and Cultural Nationalism. University of Chicago Press, 2006.


(Co-recipient) Borgo, David G. Sync or Swarm: Improvising Music in a Complex Age. Continuum International Publishing Group, Inc., 2005.

(Co-recipient) Austerlitz, Paul. Jazz Consciousness: Music, Race, and Humanity. Wesleyan University Press, 2005.

(Honorable Mention) Perna, Vincenzo. Timba: The Sound of the Cuban Crisis. Ashgate Publishing, 2005.


(Co-recipient) Becker, Judith. Deep Listeners: Music, Emotion, and Trancing. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004.

(Co-recipient) Perlman, Marc. Unplayed Melodies: Javanese Gamelan and the Genesis of Music Theory. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

(Honorable Mention) Wong, Deborah. Speak it Louder: Asian Americans Making Music. New York: Routledge, 2004.


Averill, Gage. Four Parts, No Waiting: A Social History of American Barbershop Harmony. Oxford University Press, 2003.

(Honorable Mention) Racy, A.J. Making Music in the Arab World: The Culture and Artistry of Tarab. Cambridge University Press, 2003.


Waxer, Lise A. The City of Musical Memory: Salsa, Record Grooves, and Popular Culture in Cali, Colombia. Wesleyan University Press, 2002. She was posthumously awarded.


Hagedorn, Katherine. Divine Utterances: The Performance of Afro-Cuban Santeria. Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001.


(Co-recipient) Tenzer, Michael. Gamelan Gong Kebyar: The Art of Twentieth Century Balinese Music. The University of Chicago Press, 2000.

(Co-recipient) Turino, Thomas.  Nationalists, Cosmopolitans and Popular Music in Zimbabwe.


Erlmann, Veit. Music, Modernity, and the Global Imagination: South Africa and the West. Oxford University Press, 1999.


Danielson, Virginia. The Voice of Egypt: Umm Kulthum, Arabic Song, and Egyptian Society in the Twentieth Century. The University of Chicago Press, 1998.


Vander, Judith. Shoshone Ghost Dance Religion: Poetry, Songs, and Great Basin Context. University of Illinois Press, 1997.


Olsen, Dale. Music of the Warao of Venezuela: Song People of the Rain Forest. University Press of Florida, 1996.


Witzleben, J. Lawrence Silk and Bamboo Music in Shanghai: The Jiangnan Sizhu Instrumental Ensemble Tradition. Kent State University Press, 1995.


Berliner, Paul Thinking in Jazz: The Infinite Art of Improvisation. The University of Chicago Press, 1994.









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