YALE SOUTHEAST ASIA STUDIES CONGRATULATES PROFESSOR ERIK HARMS
ON WINNING THE 2014 HARRY J. BENDA PRIZE
Erik Harms, Department of Anthropology and member of the Council on Southeast Asia Studies at Yale has received the 2014 Harry J. Benda Prize* in recognition of his achievement as the author of Saigon's Edge - On the Margins of Ho Chi Minh City. The Harry J. Benda Prize, first awarded in 1977, is given annually by the Association for Asian Studies** to an outstanding scholar from any discipline or country specialization of Southeast Asian Studies for a first book in the field.
Saigon's Edge (University of Minnesota, 2011) explores life in Hóc Môn, a district that lies along a key transport corridor on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City. The author puts forth a revealing perspective on how rapid urbanization impacts people living at the intersection of rural and urban worlds and opens a window on Vietnam's large turn toward market socialism and the celebration of urbanization.
". . . Sad and tragic, and at times funny and full of hope, Erik Harms shows how people live in the murky zones of the urban-rural divide, in the runoff, the debris, and wasteland of a now relentless urban industrial expansion. Saigon's edge is a wake up call for all of us who study the global city: socialist cities in the throes of global integration and world capitalist utopian imaginings have powerful stories to tell that we cannot afford to ignore. Saigon's Edge sets a new benchmark on how to study the urban form, capitalist, socialist, and everything in between." - Ralph Litzinger, Duke University
*"....Harry Benda's contribution to developing Southeast Asian studies was evidenced especially in the time and energy which he devoted over the course of many hears to strengthening this field at Yale, (and) he took justifiable pride in his central role in establishing a strong graduate program there. . . . also enlarging the opportunities for others to carry out research in Southeast Asia itself. The outstanding example of this effort was in Singapore, with the successful launching of the Instiitute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), of which Benda was the first director.
. . . In founding and editing Yale's Southeast Asia Studies Monograph series, (Benda) broadened considerably the possiblility for other, particularly young, specialists on the area to publish significant research " -(George McT Kahin (1972).. See Yale SEAS History.
**The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) is a scholarly, non-political, non-profit professional association open to all persons interested in Asia and the study of Asia. With approximately 8,000 members worldwide, representing all the regions and countries of Asia and all academic disciplines, the AAS is the largest organization of its kind.