_x000B_ Students call her enthusiastic and empowering.
Her colleagues call a her a dedicated researcher._x000B__x000B_ For these reasons and more, Mary Hancock, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been named the winner of the universityÕs 1999 Harold J. Plous Memorial Award._x000B__x000B_ The award is named for the energetic Plous, an esteemed assistant professor of economics at UCSB from 1950 until his death in 1957. It is given annually to an assistant professor or instructor from the humanities, social sciences or natural sciences who has demonstrated outstanding performance or promise of performance as measured by creative action or contribution to the intellectual life of the college community._x000B__x000B_ Hancock was an assistant professor when chosen for the award.
She was recently promoted to associate professor._x000B__x000B_ She joined the UCSB faculty in 1993 and has focused her research on gender, nationalism and religious practice in south India.
Her most recent book is Womanhood in the Making: Domestic Ritual and Public Culture in Urban South India (1999).
In Womanhood in the Making, Hancock describes the ways in which middle-class Brahman women in Madras City have reinvented ritual to meet their personal and emotional needs, at various times subverting and resisting the effects of class, caste and patriarchy in their_x000B_ lives and at other times, reinforcing those effects._x000B__x000B_ In announcing HancockÕs selection, Plous Selection Committee Chair Patricia Cohen called HancockÕs work ÒworthyÓ of the tenure she recently received._x000B__x000B_ In addition to teaching in the Department of Anthropology, Hancock has taken teaching assignments in the WomenÕs Studies Program and in the Women, Culture and Development Minor within Global and International Studies._x000B__x000B_ Students in her classes have praised her effort on their behalf.
Last fall, 76 percent rated her either excellent or good. Sample comments include, ÒA mold needs to be made of this instructor,Ó and, ÒHer enthusiasm ... is both refreshing and contagious.Ó_x000B__x000B_ Hancock is in India on sabbatical and could not be reached for comment._x000B_