The Gil Kushner Memorial Travel Award

Kushner.jpgGilbert Kushner was a longtime SfAA Fellow and winner of the Sol Tax Distinguished Service Award in 2005. Internationally recognized for his groundbreaking work in establishing applied anthropology as a graduate discipline, he served as Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Florida, Tampa from 1971 to 1985 and as Associate Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences from 1971 until 1978. By the time Gil retired at the end of the 20th century, the USF Department of Anthropology was a thriving intellectual center of applied research with more than 60 MA students and more than 40 enrolled in its highly regarded applied doctoral program.

Recognizing that early field research experiences provide indelible impressions and insights that guide anthropologists in their future work, Gil was committed to securing internships and research opportunities for applied anthropology students. Observing first-hand the struggles of people who are often colonized and oppressed was a humbling and enlightening outcome of his own early field study of immigrants from India to Israel. He described his academic areas of expertise as “applied/practicing anthropology; culture change/persistence.” Persistence was much more than a key word in Gil’s life; it was a moral stance that informed his research, his contributions to the academy and his enduring commitment to ethics and human rights. The titles of his publications tell the story, including “People without Power: The Administered Community in International Human Rights” and the 1981 collection co-edited with GP Castile, Persistent Peoples: Cultural Enclaves in Perspective. As early as 1965, Gil published an analysis of the Mau Mau movement as an example of cultural revitalization—the re-energizing of beliefs, values and practices with which human communities resist oppression and celebrate their identities. Human Rights and Anthropology, an anthology he co-edited in 1988 with Theodore Downing, was the first collection focused on a now-established area of research about human rights issues and their impact on “persistent peoples” worldwide.


Two awards of $500 each are available to students who meet the eligibility qualifications.


  • Individuals must have been enrolled as students during some part of the current year
  • Submitted a paper or poster abstract which has been accepted for the annual meeting program. Following the contributions of Gil's professional life, the abstract (and paper or poster) should be concerned with the persistence of cultural groups.

Each Kushner Award winner will receive a scholarship of $500 toward their travel expenses to attend the SfAA annual meeting.


Application and Deadline

Applicants must submit a written statement not to exceed two, double-spaced pages. The statement should explain how participation in the annual meeting will further the professional goals of the applicant. The statement may also include information, which documents the interest of the applicant in the persistence of cultural groups. 

Online Application

The deadline for submission is December 20. The results of the competition will be announced in January. Awardees are required to provide SfAA with a bio, picture, and travel receipts to receive payment.


Previous Winners