Call for Papers for the Journal

Call for Papers! Hauntology & Anthropology

A specter is haunting academia, the specter of hauntology. The Anthropology of Consciousness journal, a subsect of the American Anthropological Association, takes an interdisciplinary and ethnographic approach toward understanding consciousness. Our journal explores diverse ideas such as altered states of consciousness, ritual, social change, indigenous knowledge systems, and ecology. In this special issue, we aim to curate contributions of writing and visual art on the intriguing topic of hauntology!

What is Hauntology?

Hauntology, coined by Jacques Derrida in Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International refers to the enduring residues of the past that continue to exert influence on the present (Derrida, 2006). Avery Gordon notably applied hauntology to the social sciences through her seminal work, Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination (originally published in 1997), employing it as a sociological framework to elucidate the persistent impacts of the social past (Gordon, 2008). By the mid-2000s, hauntology gained traction in niche popular culture following Mark Fisher’s elaboration on Derrida’s concept, particularly in describing a musical aesthetic that delves into themes such as nostalgia, retro-futurism, and cultural memory. Although hauntology has exhibited some conceptual ambiguity and lacks consistent definition, we contend that anthropology offers a distinctive perspective to further explore its implications.

Why Hauntology in Anthropology?

While anthropological discussions on ghosts or the enduring legacies of violence are not new, employing hauntology as a framework presents novel opportunities (Good, et al., 2022). Within anthropology, hauntology prompts an examination of how both literal and metaphorical ghosts manifest in contemporary societies, cultures, and identities. Hauntology often involves multiple layers of meaning and ethnography allows researchers to explore this multiplicity by delving into the lived experiences and subjective interpretations of individuals and communities, revealing the nuances of how haunting phenomena are perceived, negotiated, and contested in everyday life. It provides empirical evidence through direct observation, interviews, and participant observation—grounding theoretical concepts in real-world contexts. Ethnographic research can uncover practical implications and insights for addressing social issues related to hauntology, such as collective trauma, memory politics, and reconciliation processes.

We invite researchers and visual artists to engage critically with hauntology and its implications for comprehending social, cultural, and historical phenomena.

Hauntology and consciousness share several intriguing intersections, especially when considering the ways in which hauntology prompts us to reflect on the nature of memory, identity, and temporality. By engaging with hauntological concepts, we can deepen our understanding of the ways in which consciousness is shaped by the phantoms of the past that continue to haunt our present experiences.

We welcome submissions from diverse perspectives, including academic research, personal narratives, and artistic reflections.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Colonial & Racial Histories: Exploring the lingering historical effects of colonialism and racism on contemporary societies and how they continue to shape power dynamics, social structures, and cultural practices.
  • Memory & Identity: Investigating how memories contribute to the construction of individual and collective identities.
  • Trauma & Healing: Examining how communities reckon with traumatic pasts and unresolved historical injustices, and the role of rituals, commemorative practices, and acts of remembrance in processes of healing and reconciliation.
  • Hauntology & Social Justice: Analyzing how hauntological phenomena inform social justice movements, activism, and efforts to address historical injustices, inequalities, and systemic oppressions.
  • Haunted Sensations & Affect: Exploring the sensations and emotions related to haunting, and how certain sounds, smells, or memories evoke feelings of haunting and blur the boundaries between the past/present/future.
  • Material Culture & Archaeological Hauntings: Investigating how material artifacts and archaeological sites serve as sites of haunting, and how material traces of the past can be interpreted and represented in the present.
  • Haunted Landscapes & Urban Spaces: Examining the ways in which urban environments and natural landscapes are imbued with traces of the past, and how these spectral presences shape contemporary experiences and perceptions of space and time.
  • Environmental Hauntings: Exploring the ways in which environmental degradation, ecological disasters, and climate change leave lasting imprints on landscapes and communities, affecting both present experiences and future possibilities.
  • Haunted Media & Technology: Investigating how media technologies mediate experiences of spectrality, and how digital landscapes are imbued with traces of the past that continue to exert influence in the present.
  • Hauntology in Popular Culture: Analyzing representations of hauntology in literature, film, music, and other forms of popular culture, and how these cultural artifacts reflect and shape broader societal anxieties, desires, and memories.
  • Art & Haunting: Exploring how artistic practices, performances, and cultural expressions engage with hauntology, spectrality, and the interplay between presence and absence in creative production.

Submission Information: Planned Publication Date –September 2025

Guidelines For Papers

– Abstracts (250-300 words) due by July 1st 2024

– Full Paper (5,000-7,000 words) due by November 1st 2024

Guidelines For Artwork

– Visual Artworks are due by
November 1st 2024 (Submissions
should be sent as a JPEG and include
caption and dimensions as well as an
artist statement)

Please submit your proposals to &

Relevant Links

About the Guest Editors:

Courtney Nelson (

Courtney is an aspiring anthropologist on the editorial board at the Anthropology of Consciousness journal. She received her bachelors in anthropology and religion from Bennington College. Her research focus lies in medical anthropology and the anthropology of religion, exploring the boundaries between magic, religion, and madness. She is interested in how culture defines experiences such as hearing voices and seeing visions. While she has primarily researched shamanism and spirit possession, more recently she has begun exploring psychosis academically as she has experienced psychosis first hand. She is curious how culture differentiates these extraordinary experiences (that involve hearing voices and seeing visions) and whether they be defined as “magical”, “religious” or “psychotic”. Additionally, she is interested in exploring the affective states of haunting and healing which is central to shamanism and spirit possession. In her research, she has found inspiration in the shaman and spirit mediums’ potential to facilitate between the material/immaterial realms, and between the past/present/future—confronting ghosts, making amends and thus exorcizing them. To Courtney, this shows the necessity of remembering and confronting the past before moving forward and the value in connecting haunting with healing so that favorable futures can be materialized from painful pasts.

Timbrook (

Timbrook is an experimental musician, writer, and aspiring anthropologist based in the southeastern so-called United States. Along with Courtney, they are also on the editorial board for the Anthropology of Consciousness journal. An alum of Appalachian State University, G. Timbrook received their bachelors in anthropology, with an interdisciplinary concentration drawing practice and inspiration from conceptual frameworks of fields such as black feminist studies, philosophy and queer studies. Their current research interests concern black non-being, identity, and black creativity in the United States, with both their academic and creative work engaging themes and explorations of blackness, memory, trauma, hauntology, and loneliness.

“Every medium is a machine for the production of ghosts”

Call for Papers! Hauntology and Anthropology image

Photo of Courtney and G., taken 2020


Derrida J. 2006 (1994). Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International. New York: Routledge

Good, B. J., Chiovenda, A., & Rahimi, S. (2022). The Anthropology of being Haunted: On the Emergence of an Anthropological Hauntology. Annual Review of Anthropology

Gordon A. 2008 (1997). Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination.

Minneapolis: Univ. Minn. Press