Over a round of drinks with the editors of Cultural Anthropology at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, a group of students in the Contributing Editors Program came up with the idea of creating an anthropology podcast. In the months that followed, the founding members of AnthroPod—Bascom Guffin, Grant Otsuki, and Jonah Rubin—investigated the process of producing a podcast. They listened to a variety of podcasts to develop a format. They taught themselves how to record and edit audio. They even designed a logo after coming up with the name AnthroPod.
On July 25, 2013, the first episode of AnthroPod was released. The sounds of Tokyo’s commuter train introduced us to the AnthroPod format to which our series remains loyal: a conversation with an anthropologist about work published in Cultural Anthropology. Today, more than three years later, AnthroPod numbers twenty-five episodes, with a production team of eight contributing editors in graduate programs in North America and Europe. Our team collaborates throughout the production process, teaching incoming members the basics of podcasting while offering feedback and support for an episode from inception to publication.
While this is a format that works, AnthroPod is rethinking its approach. Over the past two years we have expanded our offerings to include keynote addresses at international meetings, conversations about aspects of being an anthropologist, and discussions about current events. This expansion demonstrates the exciting potential of podcasting, particularly as a tool for public anthropology. Through a podcast, we as anthropologists have the opportunity to talk about what, how, and why we do anthropology. We can better bridge the divide between academia and the real world and expand the understanding and impact of our research. The fact that AnthroPod is currently listened to in forty-two countries around the world illustrates the prospect of reaching a larger audience not only within anthropology, but beyond the discipline.
As AnthroPod moves forward, we want to be more inventive in our approach. While we will continue producing episodes similar to those we have released in the past, our team (which is about to grow as we take on new members) will also be exploring different formats to craft episodes that are richer in sound. In the months to come, we will release episodes that highlight a couple of our creative experiments to improve the quality of the podcast and to explore the possibilities of audio storytelling. We will also be shortening the length of our episodes in order to streamline our editing process and to attract a broader, more casual audience.
Finally, AnthroPod will now accept episodes from the public. As listeners, you are acquainted with our format and probably have ideas for episodes that you would like to hear or produce yourself. To pitch an episode or learn more about the process, you can email our production team at [email protected] We also welcome any comments or questions you might have. Above all, we want you—our audience—to be more involved in shaping the future of AnthroPod.