Matthew Hull is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and a CSAS affiliated faculty member.

From the announcement:

"The School for Advanced Research (SAR) presents the J. I. Staley Prize to a living author for a book that exemplifies outstanding scholarship and writing in anthropology. The award recognizes innovative works that go beyond traditional frontiers and dominant schools of thought in anthropology and add new dimensions to our understanding of the human species. It honors books that cross subdisciplinary boundaries within anthropology and reach out in new and expanded interdisciplinary directions.

By recognizing groundbreaking books and their authors through the J. I. Staley Prize, SAR seeks to stimulate the best in anthropological research and writing. Authors other than anthropologists are eligible to receive the Prize if their work has had a significant impact on scholars and practitioners in the field of anthropology.

Instructions for nominating a book for the J. I. Staley Prize can be found here."

Government of Paper: The Materiality of Bureaucracy in Urban Pakistan

by Matthew Hull

“Cities are shaped as much by paper and rubber stamps as they are by bricks and mortar, argues Matthew Hull in Government of Paper. By tracing the unexpected ways in which documents travel, he exposes the secret life of paper that profoundly shapes the built landscape of the planned city of Islamabad, and more broadly, gives us new ways of understanding bureaucracy on a global scale.

Taking us behind the bureaucrat’s desk, and examining the slippage between traditional and modern systems of measurement, the book shows how officials delegate agency and shape petitioners’ lived environments through circulating or sometimes misplaced documents. These are the material traces of bureaucratic processes which diffuse responsibility and yet influence the ownership of property, housing, religious worship, and commerce. Developing the notion of “graphic artifacts,” Hull challenges our conventional notions of administrative process: more than inert forms, papers tell stories, make new meanings, and produce relationships under the guise of imposing rationality on the disorder of a complex city.”   – 2019 J.I. Staley Prize Committee