Multimodal Anthropologies

The three of us are excited to take the reins of the multimodal section of American Anthropologist. We are invested in the political potentials of multimodal anthropology as it offers the discipline a means to collectively and sensorially reckon with our past, present, and imagined future amid enduring capitalist inequities; racist, casteist, and sexist normativities; and global ecological decay. Like our predecessors, we are committed to curating material that moves beyond the written word and welcome submissions that utilize diverse media forms, including but not limited to films, photo essays, graphic art, soundscapes, and social media threads.

In order to facilitate our commitment to a paradigm shift in peer-reviewed multimodal publication, we are pleased to announce a competition, “Sensing Neocoloniality,” that seeks to bring together scholars who deploy innovative new methodological strategies to produce theoretically rich and politically grounded anthropological work centered on pressing questions of neocoloniality, race, gender, sexuality, ableism/disability, caste, and capitalism. We invite submissions that configure image, sound, and text in ways that attend to the coloniality of power as it shapes our historical and contemporary frames of multimodal reference. We are also interested in submissions that explicitly discuss how engagements with multiple media create the potential for collaboration and invention, offering new avenues of inquiry for how anthropology might understand itself and the world beyond it.

This competition will allow us to develop a different approach to the editorial process as selected authors will work with us through each stage of review towards the completion of their piece. We believe this will bring a level of transparency and dialogue that rarely occurs during traditional peer review and will foster new approaches to multimodal publishing, specifically, and academic publishing, more broadly.

If you are interested, please submit a 500-word abstract that describes how your proposed submission will contribute to anthropological theory, describe the political stakes of your project, articulate your use of multimodality, and provide a short excerpt from the piece (rough cut, sketches, mock up, a few photographs with captions, etc.). We ask that you explore these key questions in your abstract: Why does this piece need to be published and how does it deploy anthropological tools towards the ongoing project of creating a more equitable world? What does the form of the piece reveal that a textual rendering would not?

Please email your abstracts and excerpts to by January 31, 2021. We will select three projects and will work closely with these authors to produce multimodal work for publication in the journal, along with potential website supplements, over the course of a two-year period.

Patricia Alvarez Astacio (Brandeis)

Gabriel Dattatreyan (Goldsmiths)

Arjun Shankar (Georgetown)

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