Editorial Policies

Focus and Scope

The Unfamiliar is a student-run anthropological journal based at the University of Edinburgh. We are dedicated to publishing a wide variety of material, featuring not only academically informed articles and book reviews but creative work such as poetry, photographic essays, and audio-visual projects. Our emphasis is on integrating creative and visual work, and our publishing and editorial policies reflect our commitment to make anthropology more widely accessible. We believe that anthropology should no longer be read and appreciated solely by anthropologists, but benefit broader audiences as well.


Section Policies


This section invites submissions on the relationship between anthropology students and their fieldsites and how this is articulated, enacted, reinforced or transformed during the process of doing ethnographic research. In our effort to account for the diverse range of encounters while in the field and the various ways in which these are experienced, recorded and reflected upon by the researcher, we hope to provide a platform for sharing ideas about the nature of ethnographic fieldwork as a lived and embodied experience.

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This section seeks to provide a creative space for exploring anthropological issues in the widest sense. We look forward to sharing work ranging from poetry and fiction to drawings and music that convey a different sense of being and understanding the social world we inhabit. We also hope to address how art can inspire anthropologists to better understand their subject matters, while providing an outlet that may reach a wider audience.

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In this section we enable undergraduates, postgraduates and established anthropologists to share their research findings in relation to the generally broad theme of a particular journal issue. The essays can include ethnography and fieldwork-based research, but may also be entirely theoretical. In either case, they should be concise and express their argument in a way that can be easily understood by non-anthropological readers as well.

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This section aims at discussing and representing a wide range of visual materials, broadly categorised under the term ‘Visual Anthropology’. The use of photography, drawing, film and new media is very versatile and we hope to reflect this by sharing some great images and exploring their various purposes, including serving as field notes and memoire aides for the researcher, documenting experiences, illustrating and supporting in greater depth written arguments and bringing distant places ‘home’ to a wider audience.

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‘Parallel Essays’ is an experimental section featuring short articles on current issues pertaining to culture and society, analyzed from the standpoint of a non-anthropological discipline and published alongside an anthropologically informed response to the article. Through this, we seek to build interdisciplinary dialogue and reveal the potential of both anthropological and non-anthropological approaches to highlight fresh or surprising aspects of various topics treated by anthropology and other disciplines.

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We welcome reviews of both academic monographs and more popular works, as long as these are relatively recent and have some anthropological relevance.

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Peer Review Process

All submissions to The Unfamiliar are subject to anonymous peer-review. The Executive Editor and section editors will initially evaluate all submissions. Papers will then be passed on to no more than two reviewers, selected by their interest and competence in the area of the submitted paper.

We aim to return reviews within eight weeks. A decision on whether to accept or reject the paper, along with any recommendations and comments from the referees will be sent to the author by the editors, who hold the final decision on accepting or rejecting papers.

We decide on reviewers for a particular submission based on a variety of factors, including expertise, reputation, specific recommendations of authors and academics, and the Editorial Team's own knowledge of a reviewer. As part of our editorial procedure, we regularly consult with potential reviewers before sending them papers to review.



Publication Frequency

The Unfamiliar will publish one special issue annually. And may consider a second guest editor(s) special issue proposals.


Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

This journal’s open access policy is in line with UK research funders’ policies.

Authors are not charged any fees to submit their work, and The Unfamiliar editors work on voluntary basis. 



This journal utilizes the LOCKSS system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration. More...


Take Down Policy

Journals using the hosting platform http://journals.ed.ac.uk are encouraged to make every effort to ensure that published content does not infringe any person's rights, or applicable UK laws.

However, if you believe that content, in any of the journals hosted on this platform, may be illegal, please contact the Head of Research & Learning who will review the complaint and take appropriate action.

Research & Learning (Library & University Collections)
Main Library, George Square
Edinburgh, EH8 9LJ
Email: onlinejournals@mlist.is.ed.ac.uk

Please note the Library is staffed 9-5pm Monday-Friday.

Making a complaint

In the body of the email please provide the following information:

  • Describe the infringement in as much detail as possible so that the specific content may be readily identified. The URL in the address bar will allow us to lookup the specific section.
  • Describe your relationship to the content, e.g. I am the author/creator of the material.
  • Describe the grounds for complaint, some examples are:
    • Unauthorised use by reason of reproduction and/or making available the material.
    • Breach of the moral right of [paternity/integrity/right not to have my work subjected to derogatory treatment].
    • Other complaints, e.g. defamation, breach of confidence, data protection.

On receipt of your complaint, Research & Learning Services will:
  1. Make an initial assessment of its validity
  2. For all but spurious complaints, temporarily remove access to the item that is subject to complaint
  3. Acknowledge receipt of the complaint by email
  4. Contact the journal responsible for the publication of the content in question to invite a response
  5. Seek to verify your identity and authority as complainant
  6. Refer the complaint to the University's Legal Advisor for comment and advice

Potential outcomes:

When the Head of Research & Learning has verified the authenticity of your complaint and has been advised that it is ostensibly legitimate, the file will be permanently removed from public access.
If the Legal Advisor confirms that it does not breach any law then the item will be reinstated.

July 2014