Introducing New Directions

By Jess Beck and Daniel Souleles

This is a black and white wood cut image of a worker manually operating a printing press and showing it to a fancily-dressed royal family circa 1877.

William Caxton showing specimens of his printing to King Edward IV

Picture this: you’ve just completed the grueling, years-long process of conducting field work, collecting data, analysing evidence, reviewing the literature, and writing (and rewriting) your manuscript. Just as you get ready to submit, you learn that a major figure in your field abused their position of power and authority and sexually harassed their colleagues. Or plagiarized someone’s work. Or bullied students. Or stole data from Indigenous collaborators. In any event, they’re at the centre of all the intellectual lineages you work with. You no longer want to have anything to do with them, yet, all citations seem to lead back to them.

This predicament will be familiar to many readers. In recent years, a growing number of instances of harassment, bullying, and abuse have been exposed within the academy; a corollary problem is that these bad actors have often monopolized an area of inquiry or a subfield of the discipline. More generally, we’ve also come to realize that many of our intellectual touchstones emerged from racist, sexist, or colonial contexts, that worked to exclude other voices and forms of scholarship. In this climate, it’s important to acknowledge the dilemma that many scholars face when bad actors have done intellectual work that is seemingly irreplaceable. The structural constraints of peer review—and the potential for gatekeeping that it entails—mean that many researchers feel pressured to cite scholars who have perpetrated harm.

Recognizing this predicament, Economic Anthropology is introducing a new forum called “New Directions,” a special section of our annual open issue which will consist of 2000-word peer-reviewed pieces focused on redirecting or expanding citation chains in and around anthropological scholarship. New Directions has two goals: First, it will provide a peer-reviewed forum to allow authors to redirect citations from bad actors and receive academic credit for doing so. Second, it will allow scholars to highlight new, underacknowledged, or unrecognized scholarship on important topics in economic anthropology, including work that is unfamiliar to an English-language readership. Pieces will focus on themes or topics in any field of anthropology or related scholarship that could stand some creative disruption. Once an author has identified a topic they should draft a submission that is around 2000 words which (i) identifies a current literature or citation chain; (ii) outlines alternative literatures or citation chains, and finally (iii) explains how a given area of scholarship could be transformed by incorporating these alternative lines of knowledge.

For more details, please see the New Directions Call for Papers below. This series is part of the journal’s larger strategy to acknowledge and address citational politics within the discipline. For more details, please see the Economic Anthropology Citation Policy Statement.

 

Economic Anthropology

 Call for Papers

“New Directions”

Economic Anthropology is now soliciting submissions for “New Directions”, a special section of our annual open issue which will consist of 2000-word peer-reviewed pieces focused on redirecting or expanding citation chains in and around anthropological scholarship. This series is part of the journal’s larger strategy to acknowledge and address citational politics within the discipline. For more details, please see the Economic Anthropology Citation Policy Statement.

Background

We are developing “New Directions” as a response to both the growing number of reports of harassment, bullying, and abuse that have surfaced in academia as well as calls to embrace the breadth and depth of thinking that we have neglected, overlooked, or ignored in our writing. Considering these headwinds, many academics often don’t know what to do with seemingly irreplaceable scholarship, scholarship from which we would like to move on. What is more, this recognition has happened in tandem with an increasing literature on citational politics that demonstrates the impact of identity on citation, as scholars of marginalized identities are cited less frequently than expected given their disciplinary representations.

One answer to both of these problems is to redirect or to expand conventional citation chains. To date, though, the work of redirecting citation chains has been largely conducted by early career researchers on an ad hoc basis in non-peer reviewed venues. This work is crucial for the discipline, but is generally not professionally legible to the hiring committees that might allow these scholars to remain in the field. Given that this work tends to appear in non-peer reviewed contexts, it’s also often difficult for others to use that work to redirect citation chains.

Given all this, New Directions has a twofold purpose: First, it will provide a peer-reviewed forum to allow authors to redirect citations from bad actors and receive academic credit for doing so. Second, it will allow scholars to highlight new, underacknowledged, or unrecognized scholarship on important topics in economic anthropology, including work that is unfamiliar to an English-language readership.

What “New Directions” Is

Each piece in “New Directions” should take as its topic a line of thinking in any field of anthropological or related scholarship that the author thinks needs a break from orthodoxy.

For example, a topic could be (but is not limited to):

  • The origin and/or development of a theoretical concept;
  • The treatment of a geographic area or group of people;
  • The development of standard practices around methods or data analysis; the ethical conduct of research; or the training of researchers/scholars;
  • A school of thought or institutional context for scholarship;
  • Anthropology’s or anthropologists’ relationship with another discipline, group of scholars, or way of thinking; or
  • How anthropology changes given new ethical or political commitments.

Once an author has identified a topic they should draft a submission that is around 2000 words which does the following:

  • Identifies a current literature, genealogy, and/or citation chain (“Line 1”) that provides an epistemic bedrock for an area of scholarship;
  • Illustrates alternative literatures, genealogies, and/or citation chains that can, could, or should replace or work in parallel to Line 1; and
  • Explains how a given area of scholarship can, could, or would be changed by the embrace of alternative lines of knowledge.

We are currently soliciting submissions for a special section which will appear in our January 2026 open issue. To be considered for this issue, pieces should be submitted to Economic Anthropology by January 17th, 2025. Authors should note in their cover page that they are submitting to “New Directions.” All pieces will go through Economic Anthropology’s standard, rigorous peer review process and should be written in Economic Anthropology’s standard format which can be seen in our submission guidelines here.

Dr. Jess Beck will be the editor of this special section and can be reached at jess.beck@ucd.ie.

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author: Daniel Souleles