“Rainforest Warriors: Human Rights on Trial” Awarded the American Ethnological Society’s Senior Book Prize

We congratulate Richard Price for his latest accolade. His book Rainforest Warriors: Human Rights on Trial (University of Pennsylvania Press) is the winner of the American Ethnological Society’s Senior Book Prize, awarded every two years to “a work that speaks to contemporary social issues with relevance beyond the discipline and beyond the academy.” The book has also been awarded the 2012 Best Book Prize of the Human Rights division of the American Political Science Association. The author will travel to San Francisco and the AAA Meetings to receive the prize the evening of Saturday, November 17.

Description: Rainforest Warriors is a historical, ethnographic, and documentary account of a people, their threatened rainforest, and their successful attempt to harness international human rights law in their fight to protect their way of life—part of a larger story of tribal and indigenous peoples that is unfolding all over the globe. The Republic of Suriname, in northeastern South America, contains the highest proportion of rainforest within its national territory, and the most forest per person, of any country in the world. During the 1990s, its government began awarding extensive logging and mining concessions to multinational companies from China, Indonesia, Canada, and elsewhere. Saramaka Maroons, the descendants of self-liberated African slaves who had lived in that rainforest for more than 300 years, resisted, bringing their complaints to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

In 2008, when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights delivered its landmark judgment in their favor, their efforts to protect their threatened rainforest were thrust into the international spotlight. Two leaders of the struggle to protect their way of life, Saramaka Headcaptain Wazen Eduards and Saramaka law student Hugo Jabini, were awarded the Goldman Prize for the Environment (often referred to as the environmental Nobel Prize), under the banner of “A New Precedent for Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.” Anthropologist Richard Price, who has worked with Saramakas for more than forty years and who participated actively in this struggle, tells the gripping story of how Saramakas harnessed international human rights law to win control of their own piece of the Amazonian forest and guarantee their cultural survival.

[Rainforest Warriors is also available in French: Peuple Saramaka contre État du Suriname : combat pour la forêt et les droits de l’homme (Paris: Karthala).]

Richard Price is an anthropologist with a PhD from Harvard University. He has conducted fieldwork in Peru, Martinique, Mexico, Spain, and Suriname. He has taught at Yale and Johns Hopkins Universities among others, and is presently teaching at the College of William and Mary. Since the 1990s, he has worked with Saramaka Maroons in defense of their human rights, twice testifying as expert witness on behalf of the Saamakas in cases that they eventually won before the Inter-American Court for Human Rights in Costa Rica. His many works include Travels with Tooy: History, Memory, and the African American Imagination,and with Sally Price, The Root of Roots, Romare Bearden: The Caribbean Dimension, and Les Marrons, among many others.

For purchasing information, see http://www.amazon.com/Rainforest-Warriors-Rights-Pennsylvania-Studies/dp/0812221370/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1274779296&sr=1-1#_

For more information on the author, see http://www.richandsally.net/

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