Prof. David A.B. Murray has won a major international award for his new book. The American Anthropological Association’s Association for Queer Anthropology (AQA) announced that Prof. Murray has been awarded the 2016 Ruth Benedict Book Prize in the category “Outstanding Monograph” for Real Queer (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015). The Ruth Benedict Prize is presented each year at the American Anthropological Association’s national meeting to acknowledge excellence in a scholarly book written from an anthropological perspective that engages theoretical perspectives relevant to LGBTQ studies.
Real Queer analyzes the Canadian “refugee apparatus” as it concerns asylum seekers fleeing persecution based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The book’s title highlights the main task facing claimants, their lawyers, and state agents, namely: to determine who is an “authentic” LGBT refugee and whose claim is “bogus.” To answer this question, the refugee apparatus requires mountains of evidence in the form of documents, which generates an onerous burden for claimants and their lawyers. Real Queer is thus a critical ethnography of bureaucracy and the nationstate as much as an ethnographic account of queer lives.