Call for Submissions

*Note: the 2021 Poetry Competition is not yet open.

Call for Submissions: Society for Humanistic Anthropology 2020 Ethnographic Poetry Competition

The Society for Humanistic Anthropology is pleased to announce that we are opening our annual writing contest for Ethnographic Poetry, and we encourage you to share your work with us. We celebrate the use of alternative literary genres to explore anthropological concerns. These concerns may be associated with any of the five fields of anthropology: Archaeological, Biological, Linguistic, Sociocultural, and Applied.

There is no entry fee for this competition. Contestants may submit up to three poems.

Before you submit a manuscript to the competition, please consider exploring the work of the ethnographic poets we have published in our journal Anthropology and Humanism. We’re drawn to technical virtuosity combined with abundant imagination, vivid imagery, and musical approaches to fresh language, risk-taking, and an ability to convey penetrating insights into human experience. We seek a layer of trust concerning the writer’s experience and perspective as both anthropologist and creative writer, one who is ethically responsible in terms of representing the other, one who is able to locate his or her reader in the context of the ethnographic study and reveal anthropological themes associated with any of the fields of anthropology.

Submission deadline this year is October 1, 2020. Submissions must be previously unpublished and not currently under consideration elsewhere.

The entry consists of two parts:

  1. The online Entry form which collects cover page information (name, contact information, etc.).  Information on this form is not taken into account while judges make their award selections, and information collected is used only for award granting and notifications.
  2. Your poems together in one pdf file without the author’s name (anonymized), *PLUS an extra final page with an ethnopoetry statement of no more than 400 words that connects the poem(s) submitted to anthropology. Consider the question: “How is this piece anthropologically informed and/or in what ways has your background in the field contributed to it?” This statement will be taken into account as the judges make their award selections. Please use your first poem title as your document file name. This file should be emailed as a pdf to [email protected]


  • All winners will receive one year Society for Humanistic Anthropology (SHA) and American Anthropology Association (AAA) gift memberships.
  • The first-place winner will also receive an award of $100 and publication in the Society’s journal, Anthropology and Humanism.
  • The second-place winner will also receive $75.
  • The third-place winner will also receive $50.
  • All winning entries and honorable mentions will be recognized online by the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, and all winners will receive a certificate of their award. (Conditions permitting, we hope to be able to honor all 2020 and 2021 winners in person at our SHA awards ceremony at the American Anthropological Association meetings in Baltimore, November 17-21, 2021.)