The William L. Holland Prize is awarded annually for an outstanding article published in Pacific Affairs during the preceding year that, in the opinion of the Editorial Board, best reflects the ideals of long-time editor Bill Holland in promoting international understanding of the spaces, practices, and peoples of Asia and the Pacific. We look for articles based on strong empirical research, preferably displaying a full awareness of local conditions, languages, and sources; argumentation that engages with a range of theoretical and comparative literature, and contains clear potential for cross-disciplinary appeal; and writing that is clear and cogent and appealing to specialists and generalists alike.
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Pacific Affairs is pleased to announce that the fifteenth William L. Holland Prize for the best article published in Volume 89 (2016) of Pacific Affairs has been awarded to Antje Missbach for her article published in Volume 89, No. 4 (December 2016)
Perilous Waters: People Smuggling, Fishermen, and Hyper-precarious Livelihoods on Rote Island, Eastern Indonesia
Antje Missbach, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
An epitome of in-depth fieldwork, thorough contextual research, and clear writing, this year’s Holland Prize winning article by Antje Missbach addresses issues of trafficking, asylum-seeking, and migration through the question of why a disproportionate number of Indonesian offenders sentenced to jail for people smuggling, both in Indonesia and Australia, are fishermen from Eastern Indonesia, the poorest part of the country. Her answers guide readers from specific shores of local sites and practices via extended fieldwork on Rote Island (a frequent departure point for asylum seekers to Australia) and prisons, into broader streams of transnational people-smuggling networks and the effects of Australia’s policies, eventually navigating the broad and salient oceans of pollution and overfishing. In lieu of the superficial resort to moralistic labeling of smugglers as ‘bad’ people, Missbach’s article shows how complex imbrications of climatic, international, institutional, and social conditions render individual smugglers themselves captive in nets of hyper-precarity.
Antje Missbach is a senior research fellow at the School of Social Sciences at Monash University in Melbourne. She is interested in the politics of migration in Indonesia and the wider Asia-Pacific region, particularly transit migration, human smuggling, maritime security, social deviance, and marginalized forms of existence. She is the author of Troubled Transit: Asylum seekers stuck in Indonesia (Singapore: ISEAS, 2015) and co-editor, with Jemma Purdey, of Linking people: Connections and encounters between Australians and Indonesians (Berlin: Regiospectra, 2015). Email: email@example.com