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 10 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. Also, we provide a $100 honorarium once your piece is published.

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We do not publish inside-baseball perspective pieces—all of our writing aims to reach an educated general-interest audience.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. 

Read here for guidance on how to write an essay for the public.


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.   

Poetry (max 3 poems per submission): We welcome literary anthropological poems by anthropologists from any subdiscipline that bring readers into a deeper engagement with the world in all of its depth and diversity. Through metaphor, imagery, rhyme, voice, and other tools of the craft, explore an ethnographic moment, bring a fresh perspective to human struggle, excavate autoethnographic insights, push the boundaries of our understandings of culture and environments—or something else. Any style is welcome. See our call for the 2020 Poetry Project for more background. Poems must be original and unpublished. No simultaneous submissions accepted. 

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.

Learn more about how to make an effective pitch. When ready, click on "proceed" below. Create a Submittable account; it's super easy and we won't share your information with anyone. Finally, provide the following information below to complete your pitch. 

  • First and Last Name
  • Email
  • Current Institutional Affiliation
  • Credentials (anthropology student/degree/appointment)
  • Category Type of Article
  • Sub-discipline Relevant to Pitch
  • Key Point (up to 50 words): Zero in on your central idea or argument; ground it in anthropological research, make it convincing, and make it relevant to potential readers.
  • Summary (up to 200 words): This is like an abstract but for a popular audience; elaborate on your central idea or argument and provide a sense of the piece's structure in broad strokes.
  • Sample (up to 300 words): Provide a few sample paragraphs that demonstrate your storytelling ability (for essays) or how you'll convincingly argue your point (for op-ed type article).
  • Comments (optional; up to 200 words)
  • Academic Article Upload (optional; if pitch is based on an academic article)
  • Photo Upload (optional; include photos if relevant to pitch)  


Click on "proceed" below. Create a Submittable account; it's super easy and we won't share your information with anyone. Finally, provide the following information below to complete your submission. Please note, poems should be submitted in full.

  • First and Last Name
  • Email
  • Current Institutional Affiliation
  • Credentials (anthropology student/degree/appointment)
  • Poem title(s)
  • Poems (up to three, in Word, PDF, or MP3)
  • Introduction (a brief introduction to the field setting or context for the poems)

We welcome the opportunity to consider your idea for publication in SAPIENS. Please send in your pitch here. 

We welcome the opportunity to consider your poetry for publication in SAPIENS. Please submit up to three original poems here.