University Of California Press /
Center For A Public Anthropology International Competition



The California Series in Public Anthropology encourages scholars in a range of disciplines to discuss major public issues in ways that help the broader public understand and address them. Two presidents (Mikhail Gorbachev and Bill Clinton) as well as three Nobel Laureates (Amartya Sen, Jody Williams, and Mikhail Gorbachev) have contributed to the Series either through books or forwards.  Its list includes such prominent authors as Paul Farmer, Margaret Lock, Aiwa Ong, Philippe Bourgois, and Carolyn Nordstrom.  Nancy Scheper-Hughes is a prominent member of  the Editorial Board.  Some of the authors, such as Paul Farmer, have not only sold well beyond the academy but their writings have helped shape how important public problems are addressed.

Based on over a decade of success, the California Series in Public Anthropology’s International Competition, we are looking for accessible, grounded accounts that present compelling stories as well as offer enough interpretation to make these books useful to public audiences as well as in undergraduate and graduate courses.

The books should, with a personal touch, capture the lives of people. They should convey how social scientists have brought (or are bringing) about change. The core of the books will be stories of social scientists as change agents, as making a difference in the world. The books should involve stories that inspire.

The University of California Press in association with the Center for a Public Anthropology will review proposals independent of whether the manuscripts themselves have been completed. The proposals, for example, can describe work the author wishes to undertake in the near future. We are interested in establishing committed, supportive relationships with authors that insures their books are not only published but are well publicized and recognized both within and beyond the academy.


Interested individuals should submit a 3-4,000 word overview of their proposed manuscript – detailing (a) the problem addressed as well as (b) a summary of what each chapter covers. The proposal should be written in a manner that non-academic readers find interesting and thought-provoking.

We would discourage the submission of CV’s. A short summary of the author’s preparation for writing the book with any personal background deemed relevant to the project is sufficient.

Submissions should be emailed to: bookseries@publicanthropology.org with the relevant material enclosed as attachments. They can also be sent to: Book Series, 707 Kaha Street, Kailua, HI. Questions regarding the competitions should be directed to Dr. Rob Borofsky at: bookseries@publicanthropology.org.

All entries will be judged by the Co-Editors of the California Series in Public Anthropology: Rob Borofsky (Center for a Public Anthropology & Hawaii Pacific University) and Naomi Schneider (University of California Press)