Call for Papers for the Journal

Special Issue: Art and Consciousness.

Anthropology of Consciousness is a journal of the American Anthropology Association (AAA) that publishes research on a wide spectrum of topics, such as altered states of consciousness, religion, possession, trance, indigenous healing practices, cultural psychology, etc. The journal values diverse traditions and perspectives, inclusiveness and open dialogue in the study of consciousness.

This special issue aims to curate contributions of writing about art as magic (as a technology for the transformation of consciousness with both creative and destructive potential). We consider art/magic to be a “science of the imaginary” (Couliano) which opens a space for an encounter with subterranean forces long repressed from collective expression. Consciousness is transformed through transgression, through contact with that which it excludes. We invite works of visual art that speak to issues of consciousness and its symbiotic relationship to the unconscious, as expressed in fields ranging from mythology to political ecology. There are various thresholds of (un)consciousness accessible through art: plant consciousness, planetary consciousness, political consciousness, sacred consciousness. How do art and consciousness combine for healing (ritual, shamanism) or destruction (propaganda, advertisements, sorcery)? There is also a creative destruction as art tears open the firmament of conventions and opinions (Deleuze). What is the role of art in social justice, revolution, historical consciousness? We welcome work that cultivates art as a possibility for social change, both as consciousness of revolution and revolution of consciousness.

Practicing art to unlearn habit, conformity, and prescribed, mass-mediated, mass-produced perception, we want to show how art and creative-destructive thought can envision possible regenerative worlds and alternate futures. We seek to investigate art as a decolonizing practice of the mind, the body, and society. This is a moment for radical change poised on the brink of world destruction which must be confronted with imaginaries of other possibilities, considering both the art of power and the power of art.

We are interested in the intersection of anthropology, sociology, psychology, history, politics, and ecology applied to poetry, music, film, literature, dance, painting, drawing or any other form of art making. The editors would like to represent research that challenges academic discourse, especially the reduction of consciousness to the rationalistic self, and in the process excluding fantasy, dreaming, and the body. We want to explore ‘immanent thought’ as bodily, sensory consciousness. Further topics for consideration include: Anthropologist Artist/Artist Anthropologist; Art of Fieldwork; Art and the Unknown; Art and the Unconscious; Art and the Sacred, Art Environments as Sacred Space, Art and Trance/Possession, Ritual, Myth and Virtuality; Ecological Art – Art and Deep Ecology / Regeneration / Decomposition, Planetary Consciousness, Art and Mother Earth; Art and Apocalypse/Catastrophe; Avant Garde Art; Outsider Art/Art Brut/Folk Art/Visionary Art; Arts and Healing; Arts and Political Consciousness, Art and Activism, Arts of Resistance; Magic, the Occult, and Art; Psychedelics, Plant Communication and Art; Art-Making as a Decolonial Praxis; Art to Upend Perception, Art and Unlearning, Art as Knowledge through Experience, Visual (Sensory) Communication; Art in Subcultures/Countercultures, Alternative Currencies and Art; Community Art; The “Function” (History + Possibility) of Museums.

We welcome voices, epistemologies, and ontologies that are underrepresented in academic journals, such as Indigenous and First Nations. Authors/Artists do not need to be academics affiliated with an institution. Although the journal is anthropological, we will consider contributions from other disciplines, such as fine art, art history, literature, poetry, music, dance, film, psychology, ecology, and environmental science.

Ana Mendieta, Untitled from“Silueta Series” (original plate 1976; posthumous print 1991). Smith College Museum of Art, SC 2001.22-2.

Ana Mendieta, Untitled from“Silueta Series” (original plate 1976; posthumous print 1991). Smith College Museum of Art, SC 2001.22-2.

The anticipated timeline is as follows:

  • Authors and artists are encouraged to submit drafts, proposals, and art submissions (with an artist’s statement OR cover letter for authors) to the guest editors by 30 June 2022 for feedback and comments.
  • Deadline to present a manuscript is 31 August 2022.
  • Manuscripts returned to authors with reviewer decisions by 31 January 2023.
  • Final versions of accepted manuscripts with revisions due 31 March 2023.
  • Copyediting and Production: April-July 2023
  • Publication expected Autumn 2023.

Relevant Links

Submission Guidelines:

Journal Homepage:

Chicago Style Publishing Guide:

Guest Editors:

Melinda Kiefer (

Christopher Santiago (

About the Guest Editors

Melinda Kiefer is a multidisciplinary New York based artist whose work examines how art provides one of the last spaces for the sensory imagination to transform the monoculture that presently engulfs the world. Kiefer holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio Art from SUNY Purchase College, a BS in Studio Art from Skidmore College, and an Advanced Certificate in Art Education from Hofstra University. Recent exhibitions include Unison Arts Center, Secret Project Robot, the Wassaic Project, September Gallery, LABspace, Pari Passu Gallery, as well as a solo show at Flowers for All Occasions Gallery and a two-person show at HiLo Gallery (with Chris Santiago). She has been an Artist in Residence at Eco Practicum, Ox Bow School of Art, and has been a Teaching Artist in Residence at BRIC Arts Media. Kiefer is currently Director of Art at Loyola School, NYC.

Christopher Santiago is a sociocultural anthropologist, artist and poet who has taught at several universities and completed years of fieldwork in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University. His research focuses on peasant resistance to transnational gold mining in Cajamarca, Peru as well as the ‘hystery’ of the phantasm in Western civilization. Exhibitions include solo shows at Flowers for All Occasions, The Living Gallery, Reckless Arts,  and HiLo Gallery (two-person with Melinda Kiefer) as well as group exhibitions at Pari Passu, Contemporary Petite, and Nth Gallery. He is currently a professor in the Sociology and Anthropology Department at The College of Staten Island, CUNY, and is recently published in The Psychoanalytic Review, HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, Anthropology of Consciousness and The American Journal of Psychoanalysis.

Please contact the editors directly for any queries.

Earth Mother by Bread and Puppet

Earth Mother by Bread and Puppet

Caspi Maman by Pablo Amaringo

Leonora Carrington, Pastoral (Angel Hunters), Oil on Canvas, 54 x 75 cm, 1950

Leonora Carrington, Pastoral (Angel Hunters), Oil on Canvas, 54 x 75 cm, 1950

Landscape At Champigny, Oil on Canvas

Chaïm Soutine, Landscape At Champigny, Oil on Canvas