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The Paul Hair Prize is presented in odd-numbered years to recognize the best critical edition or translation into English of primary source materials on Africa published during the preceding two years. The next prize will be awarded in 2017. The award is administered by the Association for the Preservation and Publication of African Historical Sources (APPAHS). It is announced at the African Studies Association Annual Meeting.
Eligible for consideration are editions of primary source materials dealing with the history, literature, and other aspects of the cultures of Africa, whether in African or European languages, whether from oral or written traditions, and whether the text is published for the first time or in a new edition. Books, digital resources and databases that meet these criteria are all eligible for consideration. Evaluation for the Paul Hair Text Prize is based on the importance of the text, the presentation of the text and the critical apparatus, and the utility of the work as a whole for scholars and teachers of Africa. Works edited by a single individual or jointly edited by more than one author are eligible for consideration. Anthologies with separate contributions by different authors, children's books, and straightforward texts are not eligible. The minimum length is 10,000 words, excluding the apparatus.
In 2005, David Henige provided an initial investment to permit a modest cash award to accompany the prize. The cash prize amount is $300. In the event that there are co-winners for an award/prize that carries a cash payment, the payment will be equally divided amongst the co-winners. The ASA Board expressed support for creating a prize for editing primary texts relating to Africa at its meeting of November 1990. The Board approved the award following presentation of a report on processes for selecting potential winners, and it was presented for the first time in 1993.
The Paul Hair Prize Committee consists of three scholars identified by the Board.
Deadline: April 30
To nominate a text, send three copies of the publication to:
The Paul Hair Prize Committee
C/O Dmitri van den Bersselaar
Institut für Afrikanistik
Questions about the prize, or about the eligibility of a text you consider nominating, should be directed to Dmitri van den Bersselaar at
1993: Paul Hair, Adam Jones, Robin Law (eds. & annotators), Jean Barbot, Guinea: The Writings of Jean Barbot on West Africa, 1678-1712, ( Hakluyt Society)
1995: Percy Coriat, Governing the Nuer: Documents in Nuer History and Ethnography, 1922-1931, Douglas H. Johnson (ed.), (Oxford: JASO, 1993)
1997: James H. Vaughan and Anthony H.M. Kirk-Greene (edited & introduced by), The Diary of Hamman Yaji: Chronicle of a West African Muslim Ruler, (Bloomington and Indianapolis Indiana University Press, 1995)
1999: Jean Boyd and Beverly B. Mack (eds.), Collected Works of Nana Asma’u, Daughter of Usman Dan Fodio, (Michigan State University Press, 1997)
2001: John Hunwick (ed. & trans), Timbuktu and the Songhay Empire: Al-Sa’di’s Ta’rikh al-sudan down to 1613 and other Contemporary Documents, (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1999)
2003: C. de B. Webb (the late) and J.B. Wright, The James Stuart Archive, Volume 5 (University Of KwaZulu-Natal Press, 2001)
2005: P.F. de Moraes Farias, Arabic Medieval Inscriptions from the Republic of Mali: Epigraphy, Chronicales and Songhay-Tuareg History, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)
2007: Mohamed Kassim and Alessandra Vianello, Servants of the Sharia: The Civil Register of the Qadi’s Court of Brava 1893-1900 2 Vols.: African Sources for African History 6.1-2 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2006)
2013: Karin Barber, Print Culture and the First Yoruba Novel: I.B. Thomas’s ‘Life Story of Me, Segilola’ and Other Texts (Brill Publishers, 2012)