What is Anthropology News

Anthropology News is the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) award-wining member magazine, published bimonthly in print and continually on our website.  

Each issue of the print magazine (distributed to the AAA’s +6,000 members) is developed on a theme—often topics of general interest, current events, or discussions in the discipline—by the editor who works directly with authors. The editor solicits content through CFPs to the whole membership and direct invitations.  

The Anthropology News website (+20,000 unique page views a month) publishes stories from the print magazine and much more in the way of topical and timely content. This is where we publish section submissions. We promote content via social media (@news4anthros as well as AAA accounts) and a biweekly content email, which is distributed to all AAA members. 

Anthropology News is a place for telling insightful and analytical anthropology stories. Our aim is to champion engaging, incisive, anthropology writing and multimodal content from across the discipline. We aim to develop fresh scholarly or professional argument that appeals to anthropologists and anyone with an interest in anthropology. Think magazine-style stories with scientific bite. Telling our stories and sharing our expertise in this way is not about simplifying our empirical work or reducing our complex ideas; it is about using a clean and clear style to convey that complexity and nuance.  

Feature essays or section news 

Our feature articles are written for a broad audience of anthropologists and anyone interested in anthropology. They are clearly written, with little jargon and no footnotes or endnotes. They are an exercise in telling enjoyable anthropology stories that teach us something about being human in our world. 

Before submitting a pitch for your section’s column or writing a full draft, look over some recent pieces on the website’s home page or our highlights from 2020.   

  • Essays (think of these as magazine-style anthropology stories), photo essays, or interviews grounded in interesting research or current events or debates within the discipline—related to the section’s area of expertise. We aim for magazine-style anthropology writing with scientific bite.  
    • Essay is 1,600 words maximum + one to three visually compelling images.  
    • Photo essay is up to 600 words introductory text + six to eight high quality, striking images.
  • Timely news about goings-on in a section (new initiatives, public engagement, award recipients, and so on).
    • 1,000 words maximum

For essays, we welcome vignettes, anecdotes, descriptions, and creative forms of writing. Keep your writing clean; make sure your main argument or focus is clear. 

  • What is your point? What is the story here? Why are you writing this essay? An essay is not a general overview of a topic. It needs to express your fresh, interesting, even surprising viewpoint. 
  • Limit the core points you wish to make; this is short-form writing and readers are more likely to absorb and remember your piece if you help them to focus. 
  • An intro that gets to the point. The first paragraph or two should draw the reader in, providing context for the story and a clear sense of your main point/s (without giving the whole argument away). Set the scene with a provocative opinion, a topical argument, a descriptive ethnographic vignette, and so on.  
  • Remember that you are telling a story. Craft a narrative arc. Bring research, incidents, experiences, and interlocutors to life.  
  • Support your assertions and view with facts, and embed links to evidence (such as published research articles, reports, or news articles).  
  • Avoid literature reviews. Too often they are boring. Remember this is a short-form magazine piece and you are telling a story.  
  • Avoid “serial citations” in which the author drops citations in (Blue 2016; Orange 1998; Green 2004) as these tell the reader nothing. Instead try to fold discussion of other works and researchers into the text as they become relevant to your arguments, so the reader has a sense of why these are relevant and how their ideas relate to your own arguments. Select citations carefully and consider whether a citation really adds to your argument: this is a story-driven magazine-style piece and you do not need to show you have read everything relevant.  
  • Avoid jargon as much as possible. Anthropology News is a magazine not a scholarly journal, and keep in mind that readers—even other anthropologists—might not be familiar with your specialty and its particular terms. If jargon in unavoidable, please be sure to define your terms. 
  • In the conclusion, bring your main point to a close or sum up your argument. You might have a final point or “kicker” to end your piece on a strong note. It might be a quote from an interlocutor or an experience that brings home your point. It might be a witty remark that makes the reader laugh. It might emphasize what is at stake. It might be a call to action. 
  • Include a short bio at the end of your essay, including your institution or company, your role, your area of focus, a recent or pertinent publication, and any other information that you would like to highlight. 
  • Include up to 6 keywords (for SEO) identifying the central themes of the piece. 

For section news pieces, such as a piece about recent award winners, think about compelling ways to write this content.  

Previously published work is not considered. This includes content that has appeared on the section website and content on personal blogs. You may have written on the same particular topic elsewhere of course, but make sure the work you intend to contribute is new and original.  

Anthropology News does not tolerate personal or ad hominem attacks. 

Anthropology News is copyright AAA. All authors are asked to sign an author agreement prior to publication. Please ask your section contributing editor/s for a copy.  

You are responsible for verifying all factual information in your piece and should be able to provide sources or other means of verification upon request. 

If you have manuscript questions, please first reach out to your section contributing editor/s. Also, if useful and together with your section editor/s, feel free to reach out to the Anthropology News editor Natalie Konopinski at [email protected]

Editing process 

Your section’s contributing editor/s will review your pitch or idea to determine if they are interested in developing it and if it is a good fit for Anthropology News. Their response might include suggestions for ways to think about writing the full draft. 

Once your section’s contributing editor/s receive your polished draft they will offer developmental feedback with recommendations for revision (structure, clarity of argument, style) and copy edits. They might ask you to go through a couple of rounds of this. Be open to this feedback, it should help make your piece better. Remember that the goal is not the draft, but the engaging, readable finished piece. 

Your section contributing editor/s submit your piece! The AN editor will give your piece a final copy edit and look for any remaining typos or substantive issues. We’ll share the edited copy with you and your section contributing editor/s and ask you to make any last changes or corrections. 

Writing is hard work, and we take writing and editing seriously. We aim for a mutually collegial, thoughtful, and respectful process, with the shared goal of producing great content for an anthropology magazine that we can all be proud of.  

Your article publishes! Let’s tell everyone. Your piece will receive a DOI and remain on the Anthropology News website where it is open to the public. After publication we will promote your piece through the Anthropology News Twitter account @news4anthros (+28k followers) and AAA social media, and via the bimonthly website content update email circulated to all AAA members. Promote to your networks and tag @news4anthros so that we can retweet.  


Do you have one to three visually striking images to accompany your writing? We always aim for content with visual appeal. Please note that you are responsible for ensuring you have written permission to use an image with your AN article, if you are not the copyright holder. Permission means that the copyright holder has directly indicated permission for use (in email correspondence with you, for example), or the image is available under appropriate Creative Commons licensing (from sites such as Flickr or Pixaby) or is in the “public domain” (note that this is a copyright term and does not apply to anything published on a website). 

Photographs should be sent as high resolution jpeg files (at least 300 dpi) and as large a file size as you have.  

All images should also be accompanied by alt text, an image description, a caption, and a credit line.  

Editorial style 

Anthropology News follows the Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition and Merriam-Webster. Here are a few style tips (including some from CMOS) to help you submit a good article, suitable for Anthropology News.  


  • Submit essay in Word. 
  • Use US English spelling. 
  • Use the Oxford (serial) comma. 
  • Leave one space, not two, between sentences.
  • Left-align all text. Do not justify text. 
  • Do not indent the first sentence of paragraphs. All text should start at the left margin. 
  • Footnotes/Endnotes: AN does not include footnotes or endnotes. 
  • Title. Aim for concise and engaging titles (AN does not use colons or scholarly journal-style titles).  
  • Use double quotation marks for direct quotes from people and publications. Please do not use quotation marks as scare quotes or for emphasis. If you wish to emphasize a word or phrase, use italics (very sparingly).  
  • Block quote quotations of more than four lines, no quotation marks.  
  • Do not italicize commonly used Latin words and abbreviations: (examples) ad hoc, et al. 
  • Do not use italics with i.e. (“that is”) or e.g. (“for example”). 
  • Insert a comma after the second period. (example) i.e., confine usage to parentheses. 
  • Book, magazine, journal, and film titles should appear in italics.
    • Titles of websites are generally set in roman without quotation marks and capitalized. 
      • The website for the University of Chicago; the “Alumni & Friends” page
      • The website of the New York Times; the New York Times online
      • Wikipedia; Wikipedia’s “Let It Be” entry; Wikipedia’s entry on the Beatles’ album Let It Be

Names and titles 

  • Use a person’s full name at its first occurrence and surname after. 
  • Capitalize title only when immediately preceding a name. 
    • President Lincoln; the president 
    • Director Marcia Smith; Marcia Smith, director of Smithworks 
    • the professor; Joe Blogs, professor of anthropology; Professor Blogs 
    • Jonathan M. Hall, chair of the Department of Anthropology; Professor Hall
  • Capitalize named professorships: Naomi Robinson, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Department of History; Professor Doniger. 


  • Spell out one through nine. 
  • Use digits for numbers 10 and above. 
  • Age terms: three-year-old son, but three years old; 82-year-old mother, but 82 years old. 
  • Use number with percent and spell out percent (75 percent).  
  • Use numbers with ordinals without superscript (5th place). 
  • Use cardinal numbers for dates (July 2, 2020). 
  • Plural numbers do not use apostrophes (1920s, 1930s). 
  • Whole numbers using hundred, thousand, hundred thousand, million, and billion are usually spelled out. 
  • Spell out simple fractions (She has read two-thirds of the manuscript). 

Spelling and punctuation 

  • adverbial phrases (no hyphen): widely successful policy 
  • African American (no hyphen) 
  • anthropology, assistant professor of anthropology, anthropology degree, but Department of Anthropology 
  • Black (capitalize when referring to people) 
  • century, spell out number: nineteenth century, twenty-first century 
  • decision maker, decision-making body 
  • email (no hyphen) 
  • foreign terms: a priori agreement (italicized) 
  • health care (two words) 
  • Indigenous (capitalize when referring to people) 
  • MA, BA, PhD (no periods) 
  • nongovernment organization (NGO): spell out at its first occurrence 
  • online (no hyphen) 
  • policymaker, policymaking 
  • toward (not towards) 
  • United States (noun) and US (adjective; no periods) 
  • website (one word) 
  • web page (two words)  
  • well-being 
  • All dashes are not created equal. Use the correct one. 
    • Use a hyphen to hyphenate compounds: ever-recurring problem, a half-hour session, parents-in-law, half-asleep. 
    • Use an en dash to connect number or date ranges (replacing the word to): The years 1993–2000 were heady ones for the computer literate; Join us on Thursday, 11:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m., to celebrate the New Year. (In Word go to Insert>Symbol to find the en dash) 
    • Use an em dash in lieu of commas, parentheses, or a colon: It was a revival of the most potent image in modern democracy—the revolutionary idea. The chancellor—she had been awake half the night—came down in an angry mood. (In Word go to Insert>Symbol to find the em dash)