Anthropology Awards

The Department of Anthropology offers competitive and academic grants and prizes to majors, advanced students for their research and scholarly work.

The Richard ’63 and Karen Cowan ’63 Ford Endowed Anthropology Fund

This endowed fund established by the Cowans supports student research. Only current anthropology majors may apply for funds, which may not be used to fund projects after graduation.

There are two annual competitions for research that must take place within one year of the deadlines: October 15 and March 15. At the beginning of each semester, anthropology students will receive this application form via email. The continuing and non-continuing members of the anthropology department will meet to review applications.

In advance of submitting the application, students will be expected to discuss their project with a member of the anthropology faculty, who will then serve as a research supervisor. We expect to fund two projects/activities per year up to a total of approximately $2,500. The application should be submitted electronically (minus signatures) and by hard copy to the department chair. Upon the completion of the project, students will submit a one- to two-page report on the projects supported by the fund. 

Student Application

Jerome Davis Research Award

Honors students and other advanced students (except Senior Scholars) engaged in research projects are invited to apply for support from the Jerome Davis Research Fund.

These awards defray research costs of field projects in the social sciences, on well-defined topics focusing on or having implications for the community (broadly defined). Students can apply for reimbursement for research already undertaken, but need to submit receipts with the application.  Normally, awards will not exceed $750 and may be used for expenses related to travel to and from a research site, interviewing, supplies, equipment rental, and other needs. This award does not fund photo copying of honors theses. The fieldwork should result in a research paper on a community-related topic. Competition for the awards is held fall and spring semesters.

Application forms can be obtained from the departments:

  • Department of Africana studies, Rice 214
  • Departments of Anthropology and Sociology, King 305
  • Department of Economics, Rice 233
  • Department of Psychology, Severance 105
  • Department of History, Rice 316 
  • Department of Politics, Rice 216
  • Environmental Studies Program, AJ Lewis Center, 211

Contact the chair of the Jerome Davis Research Fund Committee, Daphne John .

Comfort Starr Award

The Comfort Starr Award is one of Oberlin’s oldest prizes for meritorious scholarly work. It was established in July 1902, when Merritt Starr of Cook County, Illinois, donated $2,500 to the college to help defray tuition costs to deserving students.

Originally, the prize was designed “for the education of deserving scholars in the college department maintained by said Oberlin College and who shall have attained superior excellence in their studies and who shall elect to pursue the courses of study given in said college in the studies of civics, economics, political history and kindred subjects; and so far as is practicable the awarding of said scholarship shall be used as reward for excellence in said studies.”

In November of 1923, Starr added to the original fund to raise its total to $10,000, the earnings from which would form the base for yearly Comfort Starr Awards. Starr specifically requested that the award be named the Comfort Starr Award in honor of his wife. In those early years, deserving students were named Comfort Starr recipients for tasks such as correcting themes in the history department!

In 1937, the award became a prize and students from the Departments of Sociology, Anthropology, History, Government, and Economics were eligible to share the award.