Submit an entry

Before writing an entry, please check with us at editors[at] 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 acceptance depends strictly on peer-review.

OEA authors should hold a PhD in Anthropology (or a very closely related discipline); they need to have demonstrated expertise of the anthropological literature on the topic in question; and they should have previously published in peer-reviewed journals (preferably on the topic in question).

If you submit an entry to the OEA, you thereby agree to adhere to these structural and stylistic guidelines, as well as the editorial guidelines for entries available here

Structural guidelines 

Every entry must adhere to a word count of 5,000 words (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

    • The abstract should tell the reader what the topic/concept in question is and why it is important for a broad audience (beyond anthropology). It should then foreground the key contributions that social and cultural anthropologists have made to its understanding and clearly lay out the structure of the entry that follows. Providing an abstract is essential for the review process. 

  • An introduction

    • The introduction draws in a general audience. It broadly follows the structure of a. making clear why the topic is important to a general public b. stating what one understands the topic to mean (initial definitions can be challenged and debated later on, in the main body) c. mentioning what other academic disciplines/politicians/the media think is interesting about the topic d. stating the key insights anthropology has provided regarding the topic and how the entry will proceed. A good example for this structure is our entry on tax

  • A main body divided into 3-4 subsections with short descriptive titles

    • Short titles will make it easier for non-specialists to follow the text structure and to use the navigation bar in our site.

  • A conclusion that conveys to a broad audience why studying the topic in question remains relevant for the future

  • A note on contributor of around 50 words

  • A line with contact details i.e. postal address, email address (and ORCID if available)

If you submit an entry to the OEA, you thereby agree to adhere to these structural and stylistic guidelines, as well as the editorial guidelines for entries available here

Style guidelines

OEA entries summarise the contributions of social and cultural anthropology to individual topics. They 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 anthropological works pertaining to their topic (but please do not try to cite the whole field). They explain each major theoretical point by drawing on concrete ethnographic examples from around the world. They do not put forward individual arguments but they summarise insights and debates from our discipline. That is why they need to be as balanced in tone as possible.

To write for a general audience, OEA entries focus primarily on the main concepts themselves rather than the influence that these concepts may have had on anthropology as a discipline (though the latter can of course be part of an entry). 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 should please:

  • Describe the interesting insights and debates that anthropologists have contributed to the study of the topic in question. Please try not to focus too much on what anthropologists have done, but foreground what they have found out or considered noteworthy. (You may, throughout the entry, want to draw out what distinguishes anthropology from other disciplines, or you may simply focus on key debates that anthropologists have had without speaking explicitly about anthropology. Either approach can work.) 

  • Use vivid, concrete ethnographic examples from different regions of the world to illustrate all theoretical discussions. 

  • Make clear of the beginning of each section what the section is about and how it fits into your overall narrative.

  • Introduce ideas directly and add their proponents as a reference afterwards, rather than presenting ideas by starting with whatever author is known for them. This is not always possible, but a good general rule as it allows readers to cut straight to the idea. 

  • Minimise brackets, footnotes and lists of all kinds.

  • Use short sentences whenever possible.

  • Briefly explain all technical terms that may be used such as 'social evolutionism', 'dependency theory' or 'functionalism'.

For examples of the writing style that we are after please see our entries on the anthropocene, games or tourism


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.

Submit an entry

All manuscripts as well as all additional material should be sent to editors[at]

Copyright: We can only accept original submissions that are not under review elsewhere. The copyright of all entries is held by their authors. Entries are licensed to the OEA under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Thus, readers will be able to download, copy, share and adapt OEA material as long as they give appropriate credit, including the name of the authors and all other attribution parties. The license also means that the material authors provide may not be used by third parties for commercial purposes, i.e. for uses primarily intended for commercial advantage or monetary compensation. Manuscript submission and publication are free.

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. This is why receiving an abstract with each entry is so important. We aim to ensure that authors receive constructive feedback. Reviews are 'single blind' meaning that reviewers know who authors are but authors will not know their reviewers. This allows reviewers to disclose potential conflicts of interest. 

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.