Aims, Scope, & Principles

Medical Anthropology Quarterly is an international journal published by the Society for Medical Anthropology, a section of the American Anthropological Association. The Editorial Board believes that the journal should be more than a repository of research findings.  It should be the anchor for a community of practice that is active, rigorous, compassionate, and welcoming.

The journal publishes research and theory in all areas of medical anthropology. Its first aim is to stimulate development of important theory, methods, and debates in medical anthropology and to explore the links between medical anthropology, the broader field of anthropology, and neighboring fields in the humanities, social sciences, and health-related disciplines, including public health, nursing, and clinical practice.

The Journal is committed to scholarship that seeks to undo the structures of white supremacy, and (settler) colonialism. We aim to provide space for antiracist and anticolonial praxis, and to amplify the voices and perspectives of underrepresented scholars from around the globe, including in our practices of citation.  Our publishing prioritizes cross-cultural perspectives that are distinctive of anthropology in general. This approach encompasses, but is not limited to such topics as:

  • the complex relation between social, historical, and structural forces of inequality and lived experiences of illness, health, healing, and access to care.
  • critical ethnographic research on practice, technology, and knowledge production across systems of medicine and biomedicine and varied epistemologies of the body.
  • cultural, political, economic, and ecological influences on individual and population health
  • critical analysis of health-related research, policies, and interventions
  • global and transnational dimensions of health and health care

In recognition of the fact that the journal relies on the dedication of scholars from a range of nationalities, institutional affiliations, and career stages, we have outlined here some of the principles that the journal seeks to enact in its role as a space of engagement for scholars across these domains.

First is integrity of scholarship. Early-career researchers and those structurally positioned outside the centers of academic prestige can be particularly vulnerable to intellectual theft.We are committed to doing all we can to ensure that MAQ remains a space where this is not tolerated. Similarly, scholars are responsible for declaring the sources of access and power, both for any given project and in their own position(s), that undergird their authorship. Preserving the integrity of scholarship means holding everyone accountable for acknowledging the sources of the ideas they share in our pages.

Second is breadth of scholarship. We recognize that within and outside anthropology, the scholarship of women, BIPOC scholars, and others has long been displaced by the narrowness of imposed canons. The field of medical anthropology, like the discipline as a whole, cannot and should not be corralled into a specific methodological or theoretical canon.

Third is generosity of scholarship.  We believe that editing and peer review are not just professional responsibilities. They are relational responsibilities as well. Our journal aims to be a space in which authors–no matter the outcome of a particular submission–have their ideas taken seriously. To us, this means that reviews and editorial feedback must be generative and stimulating. Those who agree to offer such feedback must have as their primary aim helping authors to realize their goals, rather than disciplining them. We understand that providing constructive editorial feedback requires emotional labor, but that the reward for such labor is an expansion and enrichment of our community of practice.

Join SMA and Support MAQ

MAQ is one of very few journals devoted solely to publishing anthropological work on health, illness and health care. It is a crucial forum for knowledge exchange not only between authors and the broader world but also among medical anthropologists themselves. Our journal and our website are paid for in large part by membership dues from the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA).  For this reason, we urge you to become a member of the SMA today.

SMA welcomes all who study health, illness and the correlates thereof. Membership benefits include organized mentoring, a society-only Listserv, a newsletter (Second Opinion), prize competitions, a yearly community reception at the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) where SMA hosts a vital program of scientific sessions and special events, and an array of Special Interest Groups that provide opportunities for even more scholarly and social connections.

Without people like you as members, neither SMA nor MAQ would exist. If you are a member, thank you for your continued support. If you are not a member but you value MAQ, please join today. Click here to become a member (and scroll through to find us).

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