Contribute to PopAnth


Who Can Contribute?

Everyone is welcome to contribute to PopAnth. You don't have to be an anthropologist, you just need to bring a curiosity about the things us humans do and why we do them. We're pretty experimental, so why not try us?

PDF guides to download:


What Can I Contribute?

We publish a range of articles, news items, science reporting, book reviews, and multimedia. Content should be produced with the broadest possible post-pubescent audience in mind: think of writing for a daily newspaper, mixed with a stand-up comedy gig, or possibly a dramatic soap opera. Catchy headlines and personal stories will attract readers and make them feel that the story is relevant to them.

Our readers live in all kinds of places, and English is not necessarily their first language. Some readers might be using an online translator to read our material. So, please do be mindful of keeping language relatively simple and free of colloquialisms wherever possible.

Topical Articles

We have four sections for topical articles: Archaeology, Contemporary Culture, Language and Communication, and The Human Body. These are loose categories and you're welcome to choose which section your work fits into.

Articles should generally be around 700-800 words. Feel free to submit longer articles as the editors will work with you to cut them down if necessary. We allow longer pieces when appropriate. You can visit The Writer's Room for style advice, read Fifty-One Tips to Improve Your Writing, or try Steven Pinker's tips on How to Be a Better Writer.

Current Affairs

Is something happening in the world that you are itching to speak up about? Try your hand at presenting global news with a human twist. Articles should ideally be around 300 words. Try the BBC News Style Guide for tips.

Discoveries

Scientists are good at reporting their discoveries through science reporting. So are some anthropologists, such as archaeologists and biological anthropologists. But social / cultural anthropologists tend not to think about their research as newsworthy. We can change that! Tell us the latest about what anthropologists are discovering through their research. Learn about how to report science.

Book Reviews

Liked it, hated it, want to share it? We publish 300-600 word reviews of anthropological books that are written for a general audience. We welcome both new books and classics. If you're looking for inspiration, try our Goodreads Popular Anthropology group.

Multimedia

We have plenty of space to include non-written material. Videos, podcasts, photos, audio interviews are all welcome.


Preparing Your Work

Style Guidelines
  • Avoid academic language

  • We are a global site so we use British English, which has 2.3 billion users

  • We use the Associated Press Stylebook. If you do not have access to the stylebook, there are numerous summaries available on the Internet

Ethical Guidelines
  • Please make sure that intellectual property rights are clear for all elements of your submission, including accompanying photographs

  • Anonymise names where appropriate, i.e. non public figures and research informants, etc

Submission Process
  • You can submit your article using the 'Submit Here' form. Please be sure to fill out all of the fields. If you have any trouble, contact us

  • We want to promote the other things you do besides being a PopAnth author. Please email us a photo of yourself and a short bio (no more than 50 words). If you have them, please also provide your personal website URL, Twitter name, Facebook page, and Google+ profile

  • If you're submitting an article, we'll need at least one eye-catching photo to accompany it. Please make sure your image files are at least 1024 x 768 pixels, preferably as PNG or JPG files

Editorial Process
  • You will automatically receive notification of your submission. You can follow the link to your piece in the Editor's Guild. This is where the editors review your piece

  • Your article will be under review for two weeks. We have an open review process which means that you will see editors' comments and you can join in the conversation about your article

  • We expect publication to take place within a month of your submission

  • Once published, we'll promote your article on Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook and LinkedIn

  • You will be automatically notified of readers' comments on your article so that you can join in the discussion


Writing Guide

General Writing Guidelines

When preparing your submission, keep the following questions in mind:

  • Does my contribution attract attention?

    • Articles are more likely to attract attention if readers feel that the topic is relevant to their lives – if they can "see themselves" as an actor in the story

    • Your article's headline and opening paragraph are particularly crucial for drawing in the reader

  • Is it easy to understand?

    • Whatever is to be said has to communicated succinctly

    • Be aware that we are reaching out to a global audience, and not everyone has English as first language

  • Does it make news?

    • Your work should engage with a current issue or an older one that is particularly relevant today

    • Don't be afraid to report "discoveries" about contemporary culture, much as archaeologists do about bones

  • Is it memorable?

    • Is it the kind of topic that people likely to share with their friends on social media or over the kettle at work?

    • Most of what grabs people's attention is quickly forgotten, so you need a "hook" in the headline and opening sentence

  • Does it add value to a debate?

    • Contributing to a broader social conversation is a great way to ensure relevance

    • The idea is not to tell people what to think, but to provide them with the tools and the inspiration to investigate further

  • Does it add value to our goals?

    • We'd like to stimulate long-lasting interest in anthropological themes and to help people become more critical thinkers

    • We'd love to encourage more people to publish anthropologically-inspired articles, both with PopAnth and externally


Meet The Writing Coach

We are pleased to have our very own Writing Coach, John McCreery, on board to help advise us on what makes a good story. John spent thirteen years working in advertising in Japan as a copywriter and creative director. He'd like to pass on what he's learned. John explains:

It was early in the spring of 1984. Kazuhiko Kimoto, Senior Creative Director in the International Division of Hakuhodo, Japan's second largest advertising agency, was fuming. "I will never, ever, ever hire an academic as a copywriter again!" He was talking about me.

Once again I had taken a client's orientation and turned it into a piece of accurate smooth, bland, descriptive prose too long for the space allowed in the layout. I had failed to discover a compelling proposition and failed to turn it into a story. A story, what's that? A narrative arc that pulls the reader emotionally toward the logical conclusion that they have to buy the product or service the copywriter is writing about. And, oh yes, it has to be logical (misrepresentation is illegal). But it also has to be compelling. That is where the emotion comes in.

Fortunately, I learn fast, and being an anthropologist knew a bit about participant-observation. When in Rome, don't just do what the Romans do. Figure out how and why they do it. A year later, Kimoto saw his struggle to teach me what I needed to know pay off. We won our first award together in a local English-language advertising contest.

We're talking ancient history here. A company called Canon was still making typewriters. They were introducing typewriters with a new feature called a daisy wheel, going up against IBM whose typewriters used a bouncing ball to strike the carbon ribbon to print letters on the paper. Over time the bouncing ball would wear out and slip out of alignment, which meant that the letters on the paper slipped out of alignment as well. Canon claimed that its new daisy wheels were designed to stay perfectly aligned and thus produce sharper, more professional looking documents.

Canon had gotten its start as a camera company. It was obsessed with image quality. And that obsession became the heart of the headline:" We put our reputation on every line."

It's now been over three decades since I, then an unemployed anthropologist, followed my wife Ruth to Japan, where she, a graduate student in Japanese literature, had a grant for year's study in Japan. It has been almost that long since Kazuhiko Kimoto began the arduous task of transforming an academic trained to write carefully distanced objective description into the story-finder and storyteller that a successful copywriter has to be.

Along the way I've had other teachers. The books that instantly pop into my mind include New Yorker editor William Zinsser's Writing to Learn, Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, and Roger von Oech's A Whack on the Side of the Head. The one writer I would most like to be is John McPhee. And that, of course, is just a taste of the stuff in English. My current research explores the world of top-ranked Japanese advertising creatives, whose thoughts on effective communication are legion and well worth close attention.

John's knowledge and enthusiasm live on in PopAnth through his work with the editorial team. All of us editors have different skills; John especially focuses on writing as a craft. To begin learning, feel free to check out the writing advice below.


Sources of Writing Advice

Here are some useful, easy sources of advice to improve your writing: