'In Exchange for Gold' Wins Publishers Prize

Book by Professors Richard Niesenbaum and Joseph E. B. Elliott “documents the linkage between human experience and ecology.”

By: Kristine Yahna Todaro  Friday, May 1, 2020 03:13 PM

Common Ground Research Networks has announced the selection of In Exchange for Gold: The Legacy and Sustainability of Artisanal Gold Mining in Las Juntas de Abangares, Costa Rica by Biology Professor Richard A. Niesenbaum and Emeritus Professor of Art Joseph E.B. Elliot as the winner of the annual Publishers Prize

The book was recognized as “a rare collaboration between a natural scientist and a documentary photographer [which] documents the linkage between human experience and ecology.” It was selected by a committee of research network chairs, current authors, advisory board members, partners and scholars in the field from all the titles published by Common Ground Research Networks in 2019.

According to press materials announcing the award, Niesenbaum and Elliott, whose photography is featured in the book, “render a nuanced understanding of the complex issues involved in developing sustainable approaches to protecting the environment and how those approaches might also respect the communities and individuals inextricably tied to gold. Highlighting the personal, this case study honors a community, its rich culture and history, while simultaneously examining the environmental and human cost of gold extraction.”

The award committee praised the authors’ overarching methodological approach, noting that “this case study reveals the environmental and human cost of gold mining, but does so in a way that draws the reader's attention to the lived implications of these practices. The committee applauded the ways in which In Exchange for Gold interweaves critical analysis, compelling narrative and thoughtful imagery. The committee also appreciated the timely and critical nature of this work and its examination of the complex issues involved in developing sustainable approaches to protecting the environment that also honor the communities and individuals involved in mining for gold.”

The Publishers Prize recognizes authors and series editors of exceptional books published by Common Ground Research Networks within the last calendar year. The award seeks to promote academic research that contributes to emerging and timely debates and to foster scholarship that advances social equity and justice. Specifically, the award aims to spotlight authors who advance unique theoretical perspectives, develop innovative research methods, and demonstrate originality and insight through the thematic organization of their book.

About Common Ground Research Networks
Founded in 1984, Common Ground Research Networks, seeks to take the pivotal ideas and challenges at play within established disciplines and create spaces for interaction that cut horizontally across legacy knowledge structures. As a result, in addition to providing a space for publication within its catalog of journals and their associated book imprints, Common Ground encourages researchers and practitioners to meet at the annual academic conferences that it organizes around the world and then connect and share their work virtually using Scholar, Common Ground’s innovative social knowledge software. For more information, please visit http://cgnetworks.org.

About Muhlenberg College
Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college offering baccalaureate and graduate programs. With an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences; selected preprofessional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health; and progressive workforce-focused post-baccalaureate certificates and master’s degrees. Located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, approximately 90 miles west of New York City, Muhlenberg is a member of the Centennial Conference, competing in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.