Paper Prizes

  • Sarah M. Bekker Prize for 2020 has been awarded to:

Laur Kiik (Anthropology, University of Oxford) for the paper “Geopolitical Analysis or Conspiracy Theory? Hearing Chinese, Burmese, and Kachin Speculations on the Myitsone Dam Controversy.”

The next Bekker Prize will be granted in 2023, with a call for submissions earlier that year.

  • John Okell Paper Prize (2022)

The Burma Studies Group and the John Okell Paper Prize Committee are pleased to announce that Lian Bawi Thang and Courtney Wittekind have been selected as co-honorees for this year’s inaugural paper price. Congratulations both.

  • Courtney Wittekind. “‘Take our Land:’ Fronts, Fake Farmers, and Falsity in a City Yet-to-Come.”
  • Lian Bawi Thang. “The Sit-Tat’s Quest for a Grand Strategy: A Critical Examination of the 2017 Rohingya Clearance Operation.”

Here are the remarks from the Prize selection committee about the papers:

The committee was impressed by the two papers especially because they provide new ways of approaching questions that might seem to have been settled. By starting from a deep engagement with the empirical material and crafting an analysis from there, both authors generate nuanced analyses that steer clear of received and often polarized ideas about society, culture and politics in contemporary Myanmar. We welcome the creativity and openness to surprise their scholarship demonstrates.”

  • Okell Paper specifications for future prizes
    • Eligibility: will be awarded to the strongest essay on a Burma/Myanmar related topic submitted by a graduate student or post-doctoral researcher (if you have a tenure track or stable research position you are ineligible). The awardee will be granted a $300 prize. 
      • Length: no more than 10,000 words, inclusive of footnotes
      • It must be as yet unpublished 
      • Submit an electronic document (word, pdf, pages) to
      • Timeline: 
        • Due date: early “summer” 2024
        • Award date: late “summer” 2024