Mouse Nest

At long last, I am an actual, bonafide, legit, published poetess! I am over the moon. My poem, Mouse Nest, is an example of ethnographic poetry. As Cahnmann and Maynard (2010) write, 

Poetry is one important place where ethnographers can explore tensions that
emerge between the outside researcher and the community. By demanding
swift associations and evocative language, poetic craft allows the anthropologist
to name and claim subjectivities and contradictions experienced in “the
field.” (p. 7) Full text here.

You can read the brief ethnographic context statement that is appended to the poem as it appears in Anthropology and Humanism, but I am including a bit more backstory below for those who might be interested. To be an anthropologist of childhood in the modern moment is to be unrelentingly vulnerable and on the brink of tears, yet charged with the most fragile of daily hope, that thing with feathers

Galman, S. C. (2018). Mouse nest. Anthropology and Humanism, 43 (2), 249-250.

I am a preschool ethnographer. On my most recent project, I spent three years and over 1,000 hours as a participant observer in a small, rural New England preschool classroom. In this public multi-age setting I got to know children and their families and community very well, and became a part of classroom life. I set out to explore young children’s pretend play, such as Molly and the narrator in this poem might undertake in the little pretend kitchen, and by doing so sought to understand one location of children’s culture. In the words of James, Jenks and Prout (1998) this was also a project aimed at affirming rural children’s agency and intentionality to continue to “provide the tribes of childhood … with the status of social worlds’ ensuring that such a form of child life can begin to receive detailed annotation” (29–30).  About halfway through my time in preschool there was a shooting at another elementary school, just a short drive away. A group of 1st graders were murdered, and my research site was palpably altered. Bulletproof glass was installed, along with flashing lights. We began doing “lockdown drills” of a heightened sort. I watched as the children picked up on changes in the teacher’s voice, changes in practice (we used to just sit in a circle on the carpet, but now we turned out the lights and huddled in the bathroom and had to be completely silent) and changes in urgency. As Graue and Walsh (1998), Henward (2015) and other preschool ethnographers will attest, children’s culture is so much richer and more nuanced than a mere function of adult culture, but it does keenly take the temperature of adult joy, anger, sadness and fear. The children (and, to be honest, the adults as well) believed that danger was near that day, but as the narrator describes, they were unable to put to words what form it might take. My ethnographic involvement at this site is over, but the lockdown drills continue. As they do everywhere. I have requested that my own children no longer participate in lockdown or “active shooter” drills or similar and I strongly suggest that you do the same. Until the government can protect children in school in meaningful ways no child should be made to rehearse for death like fish in a barrel. No more upping the ante. Draw the line today.

James, A., C. Jenks, and A. Prout. 1998. Theorizing Childhood. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Graue, M. E., and D. J. Walsh. 1998. Studying Children in Context: Theories, Methods and Ethics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Henward A. S.  2015. “She don’t know I got it. You ain’t gonna tell her, are you?” Popular culture as resistance in American preschools. Anthropology & Education Quarterly 46(3): 208–223.

Send your work to the nice people at Jeunesse!

It is often difficult to find just the right place to publish critical, interdisciplinary work in childhood studies. However, I am lucky enough to be one of the editors at Jeunesse, where we publish a wide variety of pieces from the humanities, social sciences and beyond, all focused on childhood and culture. Please consider sending us your work! You can also reach out to me directly if you have questions about Jeunesse as an outlet for your scholarly work. 

Call for proposals for new AEQ Editorial Team

Anthropology and Education Quarterly
Call for a new editor or editorial team

The Council on Anthropology and Education (CAE) calls for proposals to provide editorial stewardship for its journal, Anthropology and Education Quarterly (AEQ) for a three-year term to begin on January 1, 2020 and conclude on December 31, 2022. AEQ is a peer-reviewed journal that draws on anthropological theories and methods to examine educational processes in and out of schools, in US and international contexts. Articles rely primarily on ethnographic research to address immediate problems of practice as well as broad theoretical questions. The fundamental responsibility of the new editor(s) will be to expertly guide the solicitation, peer review, selection, and publication of articles and special issues. The editor(s) will be expected to safeguard collegiality in the field and promote authors’ intellectual development and career progress by providing timely and constructive reviews, publication decisions and publication of accepted manuscripts. Responsibilities will also include promoting the journal, the field, and researchers by providing presentations, workshops and materials to potential authors at the American Anthropological Association meetings and other relevant professional meetings.

Proposal Considerations
A successful proposal will articulate: a clear vision for journal stewardship; highly qualified leadership grounded in educational anthropology; a plan for the timely processing, review, and publication of high quality manuscripts grounded in educational anthropology; an infrastructure that includes institutional support (e.g. physical space, finances, dedicated graduate assistants or other staffing); and special features such as a plan for mentorship of junior authors or graduate student reviewers and staff, outreach at conferences, or dynamic use of social media. Proposals will be assessed according to vision, organizational structure and financial infrastructure.
AEQ is a well-established journal, the flagship for Council on Anthropology and
Education, and the flagship for the educational anthropology generally. What will be the signature elements of you or your team’s journal stewardship? WIll there be a special emphasis on developing any specific aspect of journal content (e.g. field reflections, academic articles, book reviews, special issues) in any specific direction? What will be you or your team’s approach to promoting collegiality in the review process, mentorship of junior authors or enhancing the standing of the journal among educational researchers?
Organizational Structure:
Who will be on the team? What roles and responsibilities will be covered and by whom? What are the intellectual leaders’ and participants’ primary disciplinary inclinations? Beyond an editor (or editors) and a managing editor, roles may include but are not limited to associate editors, special issue editors, graduate assistants, or an active board of reviewers. CVs of key personnel should be appended to the proposal.
Financial Infrastructure:
Provide an annual budget, expectation of support from the Council on Anthropology and Education and a brief, clear budget narrative that includes a statement of direct and in-kind institutional support. Letters of institutional support should be appended to the proposal.

Contacts and Deadline

Potential applicants should contact CAE incoming President Peter Demerath ( with queries regarding the budget, the publication process in the context of our parent organization and publisher, or other aspects of AEQ’s operations.

Send proposals as a single PDF document to CAE Treasurer Eric Johnson ( and CAE incoming President Peter Demerath ( The proposal deadline is April 1, 2019.



Hi Folks! 

I promised you all not one but two separate NEW books this fall and I did NOT disappoint. The second edition of the one and only original SHANE is out! You can find out all the information here on the publisher website.

The first Shane book, which I published in 2007, was a labor of love and of learning, and I wrote it in graduate school, when I was a much better cartoonist and storyteller than I was an ethnographer. When I was approached to update the beloved classic edition, I had mixed feelings– on one level, it needed updating, but on another, it was an absolutely massive job that was intimidating as a scholar, artist, fieldworker and creative person who is– like so many creative people– so in love with my character and the world I have made for her. But, needs must when the devil drives and I sat down and got it done.

The new edition is fantastic and completely, totally new. Longer, better, sharper and updated for a new era of ethnographic learning and fieldwork, this volume shines. I honestly think it may be my finest work yet. I hope you all love it as much as the original. I think I do. If you want more details about what is different, what is the same, and what is brand spanking new, check out the website or peer squinting into the tiny screenshot below. 🙂  

Trauma, Memory, and Political Upheaval

I am so pleased to have work appearing in Christine Kray, Tamar Carroll and Hinda Mandell’s (Eds) powerful volume, Nasty Women and Bad Hombres: Gender and Race in the 2016 US Presidential Election. This book, quite frankly, names names and pronounces swift and clean judgement on what was ultimately a spectacle that preceded the degradation of a democracy. I’ve written elsewhere about transgender children and children’s and families’ trauma under Trumpian faux populism, but this chapter represents a unique moment. I was inspired by the editors to offer searing, but scholarly, critique. The authors in this book are unafraid and I’m so pleased to be among them.

The editors write, “Anthropologist Sally Campbell Galman, in her ethnography of the parents of transgender children in chapter 20, found them employing ‘negative memory’ in the aftermath of the election, looking to historical referents, particularly 1930s Vienna, to reframe their family narratives from hopeful to traumatic. Concern over the rollback of transgender rights and persistence in advocacy for their children, Galman shows, led some parents to reframe activism as they ‘constructed the everyday as a form of protest'”(p. 17)

I wrote my chapter while the horrors of the Trump administration were unfolding, acknowledging then, as now, that we have yet to hit bottom and are certainly still falling. I put this work forward in hope, however, as the editors note in the final page of acknowledgements, “On April 4, 2018, as we write these final lines for the book, the nation is marking the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. May we all strive to live up to the dream” (p. xvi).

Keep fighting the good fight, folks. We ain’t beat yet. 


Galman, S. C. (2018). This is Vienna: Parents of transgender children from pride to survival in the aftermath of the 2016 election. In C. Kray, H. Mandell & T. Carroll (Eds.), Nasty women and bad hombres: Historical reflections on the 2016 presidential election (pp. 276-290).  Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.



Last year I had the pleasure of attending a Mermaid and Merculture themed conference in Copenhagen (!) with the Island Studies group. Not only was the conference itself fantastic, several of the papers came together as a beautiful theme issue of the journal Shima, in which I am so honored and delighted to be included. Link here to my paper, Enchanted Selves: Transgender Children’s Persistent use of Mermaid Imagery in Self-Portraiture

This is a fantastic interdisciplinary issue. Enjoy! 

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the bookstore…

When I said I was busier than ever over the last year, I was not kidding. While Naptime at the OK Corral was released a few weeks ago (and was the #1 new release in social science on Amazon…and promptly sold out not once but three times…) would you believe I have another new book coming to a bookstore near you in just a few weeks? Of course you wouldn’t– BUT ‘TIS TRUE.

This book is the second edition of the original Shane book that got the whole thing started, way back in 2007. And what a second edition it is. To be honest, there is so much new exciting material packed into its *doubled* pages that it is well and truly a new book.  It’s still the same Shane you all loved from a decade ago, but tricked out and updated for the challenges and joys of ethnographic practice in today’s fields. Stay tuned for the release this fall!  


The old cover just can’t compete.

all images © 2018 sally campbell galman