Since 1981, the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists has presented the Praxis Award to recognize outstanding achievement in translating anthropological knowledge into action as reflected in a single project. This year, the Deal Island Peninsula Project, led by Drs. Michael Paolisso, Christine Miller Hesed, Katherine Johnson, and Elizabeth Van Dolah, was selected as one of the winners of the 2019-2020 Praxis Award!
2019 Award Recipient: Deal Island Peninsula Project (Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, USA)
Researchers: Michael Paolisso, Christine Miller Hesed, Katherine Johnson, and Elizabeth Van Dolah (University of Maryland, USA)
Project clients & stakeholders (partial): Deal Island Peninsula residents, rural church communities in Dorchester, Wicomico, and Somerset Counties, county and state policymakers and managers.
Climate change affects coastal communities worldwide through sea level rise, nuisance flooding, erosion, intensifying storms, and changes in marine and coastal ecosystem services. Developed by anthropologists in collaboration with environmental researchers, resource managers, and local communities, the Deal Island Peninsula Project applies anthropological theory, methods, and teaching to improve the adaptation and resilience of the Deal Island Peninsula socio-ecological system, located on the lower Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. More information is available at Deal Island Peninsula Project.
Juror comment: "This project is really a beautiful example of anthropology at work across multiple dimensions – from specific methodologies to the general influence of an anthropological perspective on mutual respect and development of collaborative relationships. On top of that, in a local context it is addressing an issue of global importance."
Michael Paolisso is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA. Since 1997 he has conducted applied anthropological research on human and environmental issues confronting the Chesapeake Bay, including management of fisheries and agriculture, water pollution, restoration, social justice, socio-ecological adaptation and resilience, and climate change. He has also done research in Venezuela, Honduras, Ecuador, Kenya, and Nepal.
Christine Miller Hesed is an environmental anthropologist and conservation biologist whose work focuses on engaging underrepresented communities in climate changeadaptation planning. As post-doctoral researcher at the University of Maryland, she was the project director of Engaging Faith Communities for Coastal Resilience. She is a former EPA STAR Fellow.
Katherine Johnson is a Social Scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. She earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Anthropology from the University of Maryland. Her career interest is to use qualitative research and policy analysis to assist communities in enhancing their resilience to natural hazards risks. Her current work concerns earthquake hazard risk mitigation.
Congratulations to Drs. Michael Paolisso, Christine Miller Hesed, Katherine Johnson, and Elizabeth Van Dolah for their excellence in action anthropology!
Check out the award story on the WAPA website: https://wapadc.org/2019-Praxis-Award
To find out more information about the Deal Island Peninsula Project, please visit: https://www.dealislandpeninsulaproject.org/