Louise Meintjes wins Gregory Bateson Prize & Alan Merriam Prize for "Dust of the Zulu"

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
The Bateson Prize is awarded by the Society for Cultural Anthropology, the largest section of the American Anthropological Association, to honor work that is deemed “Interdisciplinary, experimental, and innovative.”
Dust of the Zulu cover

Professor Meintjes's 2017 book, Dust of the Zulu: Ngoma Aesthetics After Apartheid (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2017), was selected for the Bateson Prize from among more than 100 titles submitted by 30 presses.

The Bateson Committee states, "Dust of the Zulu is a breathtaking representation of ethnographic knowledge and empathy directed not simply to a specific place, but at the meanings produced around that place as people’s literal and figural movements, both aspirational and born of necessity, become art. In this luminously rendered account illustrated with photographs by T.J. Lemon, Meintjes explores the intermingled, co-creative planes of politics, aesthetics, feeling and history that comprise ngoma, a competitive dance and music scene that expresses Zulu masculinity in the wake of the ongoing injuries wrought by colonialism and apartheid. Here, as Meintjes shows across the text, masculinity becomes a performance of multifaceted identity, bound up with collective ideas about, and experiences of, many kinds of violence."

Dust of the Zulu is also co-recipient of the 2018 Alan Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology. The Merriam Prize recognizes "the most distinguished, published English-language monograph in the field of ethnomusicology.”