Research in Pain

I’ve written in lots of other places about how difficult it has been to be a researcher in childhood and a parent since the ugly events of November 2016, and what the new American populism has meant for me personally and professionally. However, thanks to the supportive editors and reviewers at Anthropology News I’ve been able to explore that pain in pictures and words, here:

This is one of my few comics that are not funny, and do not feature Shane. This one is serious, and is about subjectivity, reflexivity, research, meaning, identity and most of all pain. It’s very personal. I have been very public about my writing process, so I’ll admit here that I wept the whole time I drew this piece. While I am used to a certain degree of vulnerability as a scholar-artist, and producing this kind of work does push one somewhat into the historical margins, I feel strongly that wading off the page and into the margins is an act of bravery for these times. We make new meaning when we expand our scholarship beyond what is smooth, knowable and digestible. Further, we defy fascism when we name its evils in pictures and words, with bright colors that say, unequivocally, we know what you are. Artists came to name names. Mind our swath.

Galman, S. (2017). Research in pain. Anthropology News, 14-17.


Preschool, dress-up, adult fears, and pregnant boys

Hi everyone! I have a brand new hot-off-the-presses, so-hot-it’s-only-online-first-right-now publication! This comes out of my multi-year ethnography of preschool, and develops one themes and ideas I’ve talked about in a few lectures up until now. Here’s the abstract:

This article presents analyses from an ethnographic study of a rural preschool and the pretend play occurring there. While many studies in childhood have sought to understand children’s play from the perspective of the child player, these analyses focus on understanding adult constructions through the children’s play. By focusing on children’s pretend play and adult reactions to it, this article seeks to explore children’s play as a lens for understanding the tensions between social constructions of “good” adults and “proper” children.

And link to the whole thing, so you can read about gender, childhood and ontological insecurity. For those of you following the saga of The Pregnant Boys, they’re in this one too.

Call For Papers: AEQ Special Issue on the 2016 Election and its Aftermath

Consider contributing to a special issue on the US election and its aftermath. I know everyone out there has something they really want to say about the 2016 US Elections, and here is the PERFECT venue for your work: Short essay, reflection, creative work, testimonial, poetry, short play, you-name-it this is your chance. Anthropology and Education Quarterly has long been at the forefront of championing creative, cutting edge scholarship and this special issue promises to be particularly powerful. Here is the Call: Call for Submissions updated 2017 4-1

Cultural Anthropology: The Shattered Echo Chamber

madres-symbolMy colleague Carlos Martinez-Cano and I were both struck by the mood at the American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting, by the conversations we were having with colleagues, and by the desperation, sadness and hope of this particular moment. After our session, we wondered if other people also felt what we were feeling. What happens when a conference full of people doing our particular brand of justice work convenes in the tragic, painful, tumultuous aftermath of the 2016 presidential election? We asked some of the most resonant voices in contemporary cultural anthropology to weigh in, in 1000 words or less. Read it here in Cultural Anthropology and be troubled and inspired:

(I also had a bit to say about art and its power (and your power, and mine, and everyone’s) at this moment: Go out and make some art.

#lovewins #artfightsforus #riseup #loveislove

Naming sexual violence

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I recently reviewed Maria Stoian’s beautiful and chilling Take it As a Compliment at Women’s Studies International Forum. It is, as I wrote in the review, a beautiful book about a terrible subject. Like many people, I read the book nodding my head, “Yes, this happened to me too.” 

When I read the book and wrote the review some months ago, the revelations about the republican presidential candidate’s admitted serial sexual assault had not yet been reported in the press. However, since the timbre of the presidential race has changed since my writing, I would suggest that Stoian’s work–which is appropriate for high school students and up, and also possibly mature middle schoolers– be considered timely and essential reading. Not only does it address the topic of sexual violence unflinchingly and honestly, it also offers up powerful tools and testimony to interrupt sexual violence wherever we find it. Stoian has done what artists do best, and what art is for: to give our better selves tools to awaken, to advocate, to resist, to fight, and to support one another. You can read my review here.

White teachers, culturally competent practices, equitable classrooms

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Gloria Ladson-Billings, an amazing classroom teacher, and me! in today’s article, “How to Change White Teachers’ Lenses”.

If you want to know more about what I’m talking about, you can read this, or you can visit and learn the amazing anti-racist, culturally competent pedagogy we are learning about in the CTEP program at UMass.

Sneak peek of the NEW Shane book

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I’m so honored to be a part of Stacy and Cristina’s fantastic online exhibit, “Imaginings: Comics and the Anthropological Imagination” this very month. Visit the exhibit site to see my contribution, “Shane and Childhoods Literal and Figurative”– which is also a sneak peek of some frames from my newest book, in production — as well as anthropological imaginings from lots of other artists.

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All images © 2015 by Sally Galman

Galman, S. C. “Shane and Childhoods Literal and Figurative”. In Imaginings: Comics and the Anthropological Imagination, curated by Stacy Leigh Pigg and Cristina Moretti. Centre for Imaginative Ethnography,

Recruiting for Study

Participate in a Research Study about Children and Gender!

I am currently looking for children ages 4-8 who may experience gender differently. They may identify as gender-fluid, genderqueer, gender-nonconforming, gender-variant or transgender. I would like to work with these children and their families in a research study to help us understand more about what factors contribute to creating happy lives for thriving gender-nonconforming children.

This study will involve allowing me to interview parents, interact with your child in your home or a park or play area of your choosing, and do an art activity with your child. Your child will be able to keep the completed art project and all of the art supplies (markers, glue, paper, scissors, etc.) associated with the project.

If you would like to participate, or have questions about the study, please contact me, Dr. Sally Galman, via email at or via phone at 413 658 8950.

Dr. Sally Galman is an anthropologist of childhood and professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is a recognized expert in the field of gender-fluid, gender-creative and transgender children. Dr. Galman is also the parent of a transgender child.


This study has been approved by, and is conducted with the oversight of the University of Massachusetts Institutional Review Board, in accordance with the guidelines of the federal Office of Human Research Protections