SAPIENS’ mission is to bring anthropology to the public—people like your neighbor, cousin, and barista—to make a difference in how nonanthropologists see themselves and the people around them. Our stories blend anthropological research and perspectives with rich storytelling to create a unique public voice about the discipline. Since we launched in January 2016, we have had over 3 million readers from every country in the world.
We want to help you tell your story. You bring fresh ideas, in-depth research experience, and a unique perspective shaped by anthropological theories. We offer you a platform for your ideas, and an editorial team that has hard-earned experience with how to engage a general-interest audience and promote quality writing and multimedia in today’s crowded media landscape. Note that since we’re aiming for stellar pieces, the editorial process is often intense and involved. We see this as a true partnership to make your piece a success with our audience.
In order to fulfill our mission of bringing anthropology to the general public, we only consider scholars who are currently enrolled in an anthropology degree program, have a degree in anthropology, and/or have an appointment in an anthropology department.
We do not publish inside-baseball perspective pieces—all of our writing aims to reach an educated general-interest audience. Think what you might see in the editorial pages of The New York Times or a scientist-written essay in Scientific American.
All of our written pieces must be new, original writing, with no portion previously published in any form—unless the piece is explicitly an excerpt, republication, or adaptation, as agreed upon with the SAPIENS editors.
Essay (1,000–2,000 words): Our essays are analytical, interpretive, or reflective compositions, ideally woven with literary flair. The essay deals with its subject in a nontechnical, focused way, and often is expressive of the author’s outlook, personality, and voice. These pieces typically frame the subject within the author’s own experiences conducting research, but they can also be more expansive or more personal.
Comment (600–800 words): Do you have an important and interesting opinion to share? Maybe you see the benefits of arguing about Confederate monuments, you have insights into how the effects of Zika can be curtailed, or you are concerned about threats to abortion rights.
Snapshot (400–1,200 words): These first-person accounts offer readers a quick glimpse into researchers’ everyday lives. Snapshots might include a gripping discovery in a lab, a humorous insight into human behavior, or a revealing find among long-buried museum archives.
Debate (400–600 words): A SAPIENS debate presents a lively exchange of views between two to eight anthropologists and other scholars on a critical issue, such as why social disparities exist, how to deal with population displacement, or the origins of violence. Please share with us the issue or question you want to debate, a condensed version of your perspective, and the names of other scholars you want to recommend for participation.
Photo Essay (6–12 images): We seek original, high-quality sets of images that convey a story or draw our readers into an important and memorable place in time. An introduction (100–300 words; sometimes longer) should provide context for the essay, and each image should be accompanied by a caption (up to 75 words) that provides context and adds more information and insight. Great examples include essays on undocumented migrants, a medical dilemma in Nigeria, and gold mining in the Amazon.
Video and Podcast: We will also consider publishing high-quality videos and podcasts. These must be hosted on a site that SAPIENS can link to. Please email us with a link and a brief description for consideration. Examples to consider: a video on hand signs in the Australian outback and one about dancing “My Humps” in rural China.
Review (400–1,500 words): We publish incisive, analytical reviews about new and recent books and films that are of interest to general audiences. We will consider brief “minireviews” of a single piece of work, a deeper analysis of an individual work, or a thesis-driven exploration of two or more related works.
To determine whether your idea is a good fit for SAPIENS, we need to get a sense of how you might turn your ideas, perspectives, and/or research into a story.
Just as your piece should be entirely geared to the nonanthropologist, please write your pitch for the nonanthropologist as well. Our editorial team will evaluate your pitch—and your writing—with our general-interest readers in mind.
If you have any questions, please contact Amanda Mascarelli, managing editor.