Award Named for Dr. Erve Chambers

November 1, 2019

Tourism and Heritage Student Paper Award Named for University of Maryland Professor Emeritus Dr. Erve Chambers 

The Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) seeks to honor the legacy of Dr. Erve Chambers and recognize his contributions to the anthropology of tourism and heritage, as ervewell as encourage new and innovative avenues of inquiry within the field through an annual student paper competition. 

Dr. Chambers is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park. His scholarly work and professional service has had an indelible impact on the anthropology of tourism and heritage as well as applied anthropology. Dr. Chambers served as president of the Society for Applied Anthropology from 1987 to 1989 and was a founding editor of the journal Practicing Anthropology. His publications within the field of tourism, heritage, and applied anthropology are considered seminal works, and include Native Tours: the Anthropology of Travel and Tourism (2010), Tourism and Culture: An Applied Perspective (1997), and Applied Anthropology: A Practical Guide (1985). This award reflects his commitment to supporting emerging scholars and is a testament to his legacy as a teacher and mentor.

The paper competition was initially established in 2011 as the “Tourism and Heritage Student Paper Award,” and ran for five years until it was put on hiatus in order to establish an endowment for the annual cash award. The SfAA Board of Directors approved the award being renamed the “Erve Chambers Tourism and Heritage Student Paper Award” at the 2019 SfAA Annual Meetings in Portland. The SfAA Executive Committee and the SfAA Tourism and Heritage Topical Interest Group are now working to raise funds for an endowment for the annual award. 

The first year of the competition attracted 25 submissions. The top ten papers were presented in a double session at the 2012 SfAA Meetings in Baltimore, MD, and three of the papers were published in a special tourism-themed issue of Practicing Anthropology (July 2012, vol. 34, Issue 3). The winning papers continued to be featured in special sessions each year at the SfAA Meetings, from 2012-2016, until the competition was put on hiatus. 

Past winners represent a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and come from institutions all over the United States, as well as Switzerland, Spain, Denmark, Canada, and Israel. They are already beginning to make their mark on the discipline. Several previous winners have completed their student careers and are now working in such diverse professions as a folklore museum executive director, an assistant professor of public history, and an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation research fellow.

Those interested in contributing to the “Erve Chambers Tourism and Heritage Student Paper Award” endowment fund can make a donation online through the SfAA’s secure website at

For more information, contact Melissa Stevens, Chair of the SfAA Tourism and Heritage TIG, at or Neil Hann, SfAA Executive Director, at

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