Franz Boas Award for Exemplary Service to Anthropology

The Franz Boas Award for Exemplary Service to Anthropology, formerly the Distinguished Service Award, was established in 1976. This award is presented annually by the Association to its’ members whose careers demonstrate extraordinary achievements that have well served the anthropological profession. The Franz Boas Award recognizes Association members who have made exceptional contributions to anthropology with respect to the increase and dissemination of humanistic and scientific knowledge and/or service to the profession. Service to the Association is commonly recognized, as are outstanding applications of anthropological knowledge to improving the human condition. Great teachers of anthropology at all levels have received this award. The awardees are recommended by the Awards Committee and chosen by the Executive Board at its spring meeting. The awardees are then celebrated at the AAA Annual Meeting.

Nomination Guidelines

The nominee’s accomplishments should be contextualized and put into perspective. Depending upon the award in question, one may want to address the following types of questions:

  1. Where does the nominee’s work fit within the discipline? What is its significance?
  2. What is the extent of the nominee’s work and its impact on the field? On students? On the general public? On other disciplines?
  3. How does the particular book or work upon which the nominee’s recommendation is based demonstrate excellence: conceptually, in terms of impact, creativity, and influence?

Please note that nominees are considered for three years. Those not chosen in the first year will be considered for two more years. If a nominator would like to include multiple nomination letters from colleagues, please email those letters to the nominator to upload all of letters into the same application.

Application Requirements

  • Nominee’s Curriculum Vitae/Resume
  • Nomination Letter
  • Supporting Materials. Materials should support the case being made in the nomination letter.
  • Letter of Support. Each nomination packet should include at least two, maximum four letters of support for the nominee.


Submission Deadline: March 15, 2024

Questions and concerns should be directed to Meagan Shirley.

Previous Recipients

Read About Past Boas Award Recipients.