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


Author Q&A for The New Book

I am so excited to see the brand new book, Naptime at the OK Corral, out in print at long last. It looks amazing! When I opened the box of my author copies I was thrilled to see the beautiful job Routledge had done putting the piece together. Here’s the big box of goodness right here:

This book is probably my best and most exciting work yet, and you can learn even more about the book, as well as view a preview chapter, and learn my highly bizarre writing strategies in the author Q&A here:



Naptime at the OK Corral

That’s right, folks, after a bazillion hours at the drafting table and doing participant observation in doll corner, Shane is BACK in Naptime at the OK Corral: Shane’s Beginner’s Guide to Childhood Ethnography

The beloved heroine of students and faculty alike returns in this third volume of the acclaimed series, focusing on the basic how-to’s and foundations of ethnographic studies of children and childhoods. The book opens with Shane trying to land a post-doc working in a department of cultural anthropologists studying children and childhood. Rather predictably, Shane initially sees children as nothing more than small adults. But in this book she’ll be forced to reorient herself, yet again. As usual, she is aided by the spirits of the ancestors, of senior colleagues, of talking guinea pigs and gigantic head lice, and through it all by her esteemed guide, Billy the Literal Kid.

This illustrated guide will orient the reader to the fundamental challenges in doing ethnographic research with children. The book begins by briefly exploring the history of research on children, with children, for children and “by” children. Throughout, it is about doing research with children rather than on them, highlighting their participant rather than object nature.

Topics covered include:

  • Foundations of child development
  • Defining childhood
  • The history, essential theories and major works in the anthropology of childhood
  • Children’s culture and popular Kinderculture
  • Ethical concerns and IRBs
  • Foundations of naturalistic inquiry with children
  • Introduction to ethnographic methods with child participants, including detailed guidance in observation and interview methods
  • Practical guidelines for analyzing children’s artwork and other visual products
  • Addressing the complexities of adult researcher subjectivities and roles

This book is intended for the novice ethnographic researcher and student alike with learning at its core and is designed to encourage wider and deeper reading. It is a useful tool for teaching advanced undergraduate and graduate students in Education, Anthropology, Childhood Studies, Nursing, Communications, Media Studies, Art Education, and more, as well as an essential volume for any faculty bookshelf.

You can get your own copy here!

Nasty Women and Bad Hombres

I am so excited to be part of this new book coming from University of Rochester Press, edited by Christine Kray, Tamar Carroll and Hinda Mandell. My contribution, “This is Vienna: Parents of Transgender Children from Pride to Survival in the Aftermath of the 2016 Election,” addresses the experiences of transgender children and their families during the 2016 presidential campaign, and in the immediate, frightening aftermath.

You can pre-order using the discount code, above!




I am so pleased to be featured in this most recent special issue of Anthropology News, focusing on #MeToo in Anthropology. The visual scholarship I produced is a reflection on my own and others’ experience in the field, navigating disciplinary and other violence. My work as an artist and ethnographer is rooted in “redirecting conversations about social phenomena by enabling others to vicariously experience the world” (Barone & Eisner 2012, 20), and I hope this piece is a step in that direction, to divert feeling– even painful feelings– toward understanding and action. 

Non-Fiction Comics Mini-Fest

Come one, come all to the Non Fiction Comics MiniFest at the Vermont Folklife Center! I will be talking in the latter part of the afternoon on 16th June about ethnography and comics, hot on the tails of the new release of both the second edition of the original Shane the Lone Ethnographer as well as the brand new, Naptime at the OK Corral: Shane’s Beginner’s Guide to the Ethnography of Childhood. Come for the sneak previews, stay to learn from the amazing people on all the panels that day.

At the Conference on Contemporary Childhood in Madrid (well, not actually IN Madrid but kind of…)

My picture and words went to a very nice conference on contemporary childhoods in Madrid, but I stayed in rainy Western Massachusetts and sniffled. I was so honored to be a part, and if you missed it, apparently there could be another chance— we might be taking the show on the road to AAA in San Jose next year!

Here are the materials generated by participants in the Workshop Infancia_c #6: Estudios Culturales de la Infancia / Cultural Studies of ChildhoodThese are mainly videos and short texts. If you share or comment them in other social media please use #wsic6 as a hashtag and we will add a link to these threads here.

Aquí puedes encontrar los materiales generados por los/as participantes en el Workshop Infancia_c #6: Estudios Culturales de la Infancia / Cultural Studies of ChildhoodSe trata principalmente de pequeños videos o textos escritos. Si los comentas o compartes en otros medios, por favor, utiliza el hashtag #wsic6 y crearemos un link a estos hilos aquí.