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Submission guidelines

Before writing an entry, please check with us to make sure the topic is not currently in production. Even when you have received permission to author an entry, this does not mean that the entry will be accepted, as this depends on peer-review. CEA authors should hold a PhD in Anthropology and they should have previously published in peer-reviewed journals. Moreover, they should have built demonstrable expertise on the topic they write about. 

CEA entries aim at academic readers as well as the general public. In order to cater to this broad audience, entries focus in tone and complexity on undergraduates with limited to no prior knowledge of Social or Cultural Anthropology. They explain individual concepts (such as “Colonialism”, “Climate Change”, “Ethnicity” etc.) without the use of jargon, whilst referencing the major works pertaining to their topic (please do not try to cite the whole field). They do not represent particular viewpoints but their purpose is to be as balanced in tone as possible (they summarize interesting insights into a topic rather than putting forward an individual argument). Authors may be tempted to write a literature review that focuses on recent changes in our discipline, yet this is not what we are after. Entries may refer in part to the influence that concepts have had for anthropology as a discipline, but the main focus should really lie with explaining the concepts themselves, and with explaining the interesting insights anthropologists have contributed to their study.

Word count: Entries should be 5,000 words long (including footnotes but excluding the bibliography). Unfortunately, we can only review entries that meet this target by a margin of +/- 600 words.

Important text elements include:

  • an abstract of 200-300 words.
  • a note on contributor of around 50 words.
  • short section titles, which make it easier for non-specialist to follow the text structure.

Referencing: Please refer to the classic works that are necessary for your entry. We leave it up to you if you want to also reference more recent texts. The encyclopedia follows the reference guidelines of the JRAI. This means that all works listed in the bibliography must be cited in the text. In-text references should be cited as 'author's last name, publication date, colon, page', e.g. (Geertz 1973: 155). If the author's name is mentioned in the text, please use 'publication date, colon, page' only e.g. (1973: 155)

Bibliography: Once again, we follow the bibliography guidelines of the JRAI. Thus, as a general rule works should be listed in alphabetical order of authors, translators should be credited and if the edition cited has been published long after the original, the original should be given in square brackets. Examples for referencing: 

  • Books
    • Appadurai, A. 1995. Modernity at large: cultural dimensions of globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
    • ——— 2006. Fear of small numbers: An essay on the geography of anger. Durham: Duke University Press.
    • Aristotle, 2013 [1984]. Politics (trans. C. Lord). London and Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    • Bourdieu, P. 1977. Outline of a theory of practice (trans. R. Nice). Cambridge: University Press.
    • Wolf, E.R. 1997 [1982]. Europe and the people without history. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Book chapters
    • Bateson, G. & M. Mead 2002 [1976]. On the use of the camera in anthropology. In The anthropology of media: a reader (eds) K. Askew & R. Wilk, 41-6. Oxford: Blackwell.
    • Marshall, T.H. 1983 [1950]. Citizenship and social class. In States and societies (ed.) D. Held, 248-60. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
    • Hill, J. & D. Plath 1998. Moneyed knowledge: how women become commercial shellfish divers. In Learning in likely places: varieties of apprenticeship in Japan (ed.) J. Singleton, 211-25. Pittsburgh: University Press. 
  • Edited volumes
    • Marchand, T. (ed.) 2010. Making knowledge: explorations of the indissoluble relation between mind, body and environment. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
    • Schneider, A. & C. Wright (eds) 2006. Contemporary art and anthropology. Oxford: Berg.
    • Halstead, N., E. Hirsch & J. Okely (eds) 2008. Knowing how to know: fieldwork and the ethnographic present. Oxford: Berghahn.
  • Articles
    • Herzfeld, M. 2009. Rhythm, tempo, and historical time: experiencing temporality in the neoliberal age. Public Archeology 8, 108-23.

    • Wilson, S.M. & L.C. Peterson 2002. The anthropology of online communities. Annual Review of Anthropology 31, 44-67.​
  • Articles in special issues
    • Bear, L. 2014. Doubt, conflict, mediation: the anthropology of modern time. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) Special Issue: Doubt, conflict, mediation: the anthropology of modern time (ed.) L. Bear, S3-30.
    • Makovicky, N. 2010. ‘Something to talk about’: notation and knowledge-making among Central Slovak lace-makers. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) Special Issue: Making knowledge (ed.) T. Marchand, S80-99.

  • Web sites, reports, and on-line publications 

Spelling and layout: The encyclopedia uses JRAI spelling. This means it uses UK spelling except words ending in '-ize' (e.g. 'to organise‘ becomes 'to organize'), UK punctuation (including single quotation marks), and the serial comma. All numbers under 100 are written out, except for statistics and ages. Entries should be double spaced, with a clear paragraph structure.

Pictures: We are always happy to receive up to two pictures (including captions) for particular entries, provided they are necessary to further the argument. If you do provide pictures, please ensure that you hold written permission from the copyright owners for all people who may appear in them. All pictures should be provided in .jpg format, with a minimum resolution of 890x440px.

Review process: Members of our editorial board and external reviewers will review the abstract each entry before either reviewing the entries themselves or sending them to specialists in the respective field. We aim to ensure that you receive constructive feedback.

Some more general information on our project: The CEA is a teaching and learning resource hosted at the University of Cambridge. Its goal is to facilitate access to anthropological knowledge for experts and non-experts worldwide. The CEA does not aspire to constitute a new canon of correct anthropological knowledge. Instead it is meant as an introductory resource for all those who would like to familiarize themselves with particular subjects of interest, and with the discipline of Social Anthropology more broadly. All entries are peer reviewed by leading academics, making the CEA one of the most reliable resources for anthropological knowledge on the web.

The CEA is part of a growing movement for open access Anthropology. It is based on the firm conviction that anthropological knowledge must be shared between academics and with the general public in order to deal with the fundamental challenges of our time. The CEA therefore features entries on contemporary topics such as “climate change” and “ethnicity” as much as on long-established subjects such as “Buddhism” and “ritual”.

Copyright: We can only accept original submissions and we publish under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Thus, future users will be able to download, copy, share and adapt entries as long as they give appropriate credit, including the name of the author and all other attribution parties. The license also means that the material you provide may not be used for commercial purposes, i.e. for uses primarily intended for commercial advantage or monetary compensation.

Submit an entry

All manuscripts as well as all additional material should be sent to Manuscript submission and publication are free.

Review times

Each entry is peer-reviewed by leading academics in the field. While we cannot commit to fixed review times, we aim to provide authors with a first reply in less than 3 months of manuscript submission. Once a manuscript has been accepted we can copy-edit it and make it public in less than 3 weeks.