Call For Papers: Trauma Informed Anthropology

Deadline for Abstract Submissions: 2nd April 2023

Special Issue: Trauma-Informed Anthropology
Guest Editor: Dr William Tantam, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Bristol,
United Kingdom

Trauma manifests in different ways, for different people, and at different times, and has been conceptualised as taking people to the ‘edge of existence’ (Lester 2013). How might we recognise and engage with understandings of trauma, and what implications might this have for anthropological research and teaching?

This Teaching Anthropology Special Issue will explore approaches to trauma-informed anthropology and to consider key emerging discussions around trauma-informed approaches more broadly. Trauma-informed approaches acknowledge that particular topics, approaches, and teaching styles may reenact traumatic dynamics, and also recognises the impacts of trauma and how these reverberate across the lifecourse of survivors. These approaches also engage with understandings of the impacts of engaging with traumatic topics and learning materials including vicarious traumatisation and secondary traumatisation.

Anthropology has long since engaged with challenging topics, and indeed carries its own challenging
histories, and researchers continue to generate key insights into the lived realities of trauma survivors.
This special issue aims to draw together insights for deploying these findings in research and teaching
with particular attention to reducing possibilities of harm.

This call aims to generate a wide conversation and is open to practitioners wanting to share their
approach with teachers, reflections on personal experiences in the class room, as well as full-length
academic articles. We welcome short reflective articles, creative formats and staff/student collaborative pieces. We also encourage those from cognate disciplines such as sociology, and from researchers using ethnographic methods. We seek papers that might consider:

  • How might ‘trauma’ come into tension with anthropological theories, methods, and established
    means of researching, learning, and teaching?
  • Do certain topics have a greater likelihood of triggering trauma responses and how have you
    adapted to this in your teaching?
  • How can anthropology contribute to understandings of trauma?
  • What are key considerations for a trauma-informed anthropology?
  • What challenges are faced by trauma survivors in engaging with anthropology?

We will also be using the solutions to develop guidelines for best practice.

Proposed timeline:

  1. Abstracts submitted via email to by 2nd April 2023.
  2. Acceptance decision made 17th April 2023.
  3. Submissions via journal system by 14th August 2023.
  4. Publication expected in 2024 following successful peer review process.

Informal inquiries about style or suitability very welcome via email to

Header image: by John Petalcurin from Pexels

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