For Authors

If you are interested in contributing a research article to the peer-reviewed open-access journal Cultural Anthropology, please consult the submission guidelines below before uploading your manuscript to our Open Journal Systems (OJS) submission system. The online submission system is the only acceptable means of submitting a research article; manuscripts sent directly to the editorial office will not be considered for review.

If you are interested in contributing to the Cultural Anthropology website—by editing a Hot Spots or Theorizing the Contemporary series, or by writing a post for one of our other Fieldsights sections—please contact To inquire about submitting a photo essay, please contact

Submission Guidelines for Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology publishes ethnographic writing informed by a wide array of theoretical perspectives, innovative in form and content, and focused on both traditional and emerging topics. It also welcomes essays concerned with theoretical issues, with ethnographic methods and research design in historical perspective, and with ways cultural analysis can address broader public audiences and interests.

A submission to Cultural Anthropology should:

  1. Be more than a solid ethnographic case study; we are looking for works that offer conceptual reach and comparative relevance to a broad anthropological audience.
  2. Offer a rigorous analytical approach and a clear argument. Introducing a novel concept is less important to us than demonstrating one’s capacity for careful bridgework between the intricacies of field experience and relevant conversations in anthropology and the human sciences.
  3. Be able to explain its thematic urgency, unique intervention, and intellectual currency; awareness of earlier trends is appreciated but manuscripts must also connect clearly to contemporary and emergent areas of interest within the discipline.
  4. Be aware of research outside the author’s core networks. We especially welcome works that take alternative viewpoints seriously into account.
  5. Engage field research; even though we welcome, for example, historically attentive, critically minded, and conceptually ambitious manuscripts, we have a strong preference for fieldwork-driven articles in which ethnography plays a generative role with respect to analysis and argumentation. Creative interpretations as to what counts as “the field” are welcome.
  6. Build arguments with claims proportionate to the data presented.
  7. Suggest a reflexive attentiveness to issues of research, design, and methodology.

Cultural Anthropology is not currently accepting proposals for special issues or book reviews.

Article Processing and Submission Charges

Cultural Anthropology does not use article processing charges (APCs) to support the cost of publication. Members of the Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA) support the journal through their membership dues. Authors who are members of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), but not of the SCA, must become members of the SCA before their manuscripts will be reviewed. To join the SCA, please sign up on the AAA website.

Authors who are not members of the AAA may pay a submission charge of $21 in lieu of becoming a member of the AAA and SCA. To pay the submission fee, please send a request for instructions to This charge only applies to initial submissions, and is not charged again for resubmitted manuscripts. In the case of coauthored manuscripts, as long as at least one of the authors is a current SCA member, no submission charge will be levied.

Submitting a Manuscript

The target length of your initial submission should be 9,000 words, including notes and references. Manuscripts over 9,500 words will be returned for further editing. All submissions must include an abstract and keywords.

You must submit your manuscript using our OJS submission system. If you encounter any technical difficulties, please contact for assistance. Manuscripts submitted to Cultural Anthropology should not be under simultaneous consideration by any other journal or have been published elsewhere.

Revised submissions must include a detailed cover letter indicating changes made to the manuscript and explaining how the author has responded to the comments of the reviewers and editors. Authors must upload revisions to OJS as a new submission, with a note indicating the previous OJS submission ID number.


Cultural Anthropology follows the Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed., 2010) for most matters of style, including hyphenation, capitalization, punctuation, abbreviations, and grammar, and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed., 2003) for spelling. Manuscripts must be double-spaced and in a 12-point font, preferably Times New Roman; this applies to block quotes and excerpts, notes, and references. Margins throughout the manuscript should be set at 1 inch.


Citations and reference lists should use Chicago's author-date format (see Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide, author-date tab). Sources appearing in the references list must be cited in text and vice versa. In text, references are cited in parentheses, with last name(s), year of publication, and page numbers for direct quotations. The references list should be ordered alphabetically by author’s last name. If possible, please provide digital object identifier (DOIs) for all journal articles.

Cultural Anthropology takes plagiarism very seriously, and asks authors to be sure that they have properly acknowledged the scholarly work of others. Failure to do so can be considered grounds for the rejection of a submitted article.


Images should not be embedded in your manuscript, but uploaded separately. In the manuscript, please indicate where you would like each image to appear by adding in-text callouts between paragraphs: for example, “<IMAGE 1 HERE>.” Then, once you have uploaded the manuscript to OJS, you should upload the images and a Word document with captions for each image as supplementary files.

In the Word document, please indicate the source of each image and whether you: 1) are the creator of the image; 2) have permission from the copyright holder to use the image; or 3) believe there is a fair use case for publishing the image. Cultural Anthropology does not pay licensing fees for copyrighted images. Large, high-resolution image files are always preferable; please contact for instructions if your files are too large to upload to OJS.

Our Review Process

All manuscripts are given an initial review by the editorial collective within 7–10 days of their submission. At that point, the editors will either inform the author that the article has been declined or will initiate the journal’s double-blind peer review process. Each article sent out for review is sent to two or three reviewers, who are selected by the journal’s editorial board and are asked to disclose any conflicts of interest before accepting the assignment. A decision about whether to accept, reject, or invite revisions to the article is generally made within three months of sending it out for review.

Authors should prepare their manuscripts in order to facilitate its anonymous review. Any identifying references to the author should be removed prior to submission.

Our Production Process

Once an article has been accepted and scheduled for publication, it will be copyedited for clarity and consistency with Cultural Anthropology’s house style. Authors will have the opportunity to review the copyedited manuscript and to make additional changes, in consultation with the managing editor. Once an article has been typeset, only very small corrections will be permitted. Authors are asked to respond promptly to all inquiries from the editorial office in order to avoid delays in the production schedule.

Authors are required to complete an author agreement that transfers copyright of the published article to the American Anthropological Association. Authors reserve the right to republish the article as part of any book or anthology for which the author is the primary author or editor, subject to giving proper credit to the original publication. Authors also reserve the right to archive preprint and postprint versions of their manuscript for noncommercial purposes, as indicated in the journal’s SHERPA/RoMEO deposit policy. Finally, authors enjoy the same rights as any other user to download, save, reproduce, and transmit journal content, as indicated in the journal’s open-access statement.

Cultural Anthropology requires authors to provide the journal with their ORCID identifier early in the production process. The journal also invites authors to self-report their gender and race/ethnicity, in order to track the diversity of our contributor pool over time. However, providing this information is entirely optional.

Corrections and Retractions

If an author discovers a significant error or inaccuracy in his or her article after it has been published, it is the author’s obligation to notify the editorial collective and to cooperate fully if a correction or retraction is judged to be in order. In the event that an allegation of research misconduct relating to a published article is brought to the editorial collective, the journal will follow the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics in responding to the allegation.