Anthropology of Los Angeles: City, Image, and Politics / Call for Book Chapters

Various conceptualizations of Los Angeles point to a decentralized space that provokes that the hyperreal, segregated yet creatively multicultural, a powerful node in global networks, a fantasy that participates in California and American Dreams. This book seeks not to outline or define Los Angeles but seeks to interrogate and/or question, through anthropological lenses, the production and representation of a multiplicitous Los Angeles. Considering critical and ethnographic approaches to the city, identity, and representation, some broadly framed questions for this volume include:

  • How have analyses of Los Angeles utilized critical race theories, feminist perspectives, or studies of youth and what particular vectors of intersectionality have been neglected or invisibilized?
  • Is intersectionality a useful concept in thinking Los Angeles?
  • How do notions of multiculturalism, activism, and identity play into the conception of Los Angeles as dystopia or utopia?
  • How have relationships between various spaces and places produced particular notions of Los Angeles as fragmented or unified, bounded or fluid?
  • How have global tensions and global-local relations been understood through exploration of Los Angeles?
  • What is the value or role of the anthropological perspective in relation to those of other disciplines (sociology, history, ethnic studies, or cultural studies, or others) which have theorized and represented Los Angeles, and what are points of comparison or conflict?
  • How can Los Angeles be conceptualized in a way that highlights resilience and agency in the face of particular forms of exploitation or suffering, and what are the unique, political struggles that are often, or not, recognized in shaping Los Angeles?

We invite submissions on a wide range of topics that may include but are not limited to the following:

  • migrant communities and migrations
  • labor
  • race and social formation
  • education
  • violence and conflict
  • human and sex trafficking
  • aesthetics, media, art
  • urban studies and architecture
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
  • health
  • food
  • greater Los Angeles
  • Sexual Minorities and gender studies
  • marriage patterns and domestic partnerships
  • ethnic enclaves/ethnoburbs
  • diversely-abled bodies
  • social and environmental justice
  • citizenship
  • police and military
  • activism and protest
  • tourism
  • affect
  • human rights and humanitarianism
  • memory
  • poverty
  • youth and childhood
  • digital worlds and cyberspace
  • film industry
  • economy
  • climate
  • environment

The editors are currently reviewing a contract with Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield, for this publication.

Abstracts should be 500 words and sent with a 1-paragraph author biographical statement, CV, contact, and affiliation.

Email submission to:

  • mking[at]
  • anthrolaanthology[at]
  • jenbanh[at]

About the Editors

Jenny Banh is an Anthropology lecturer at Whittier College. She earned her BA from University of CA, Los Angeles, MA from Claremont Graduate University and PhD from University of CA, Riverside. Her research examines gangs, sweatshops, race, labor, Hong Kong, globalization, popular culture, and postcolonial studies. She is the author of the chapter, Barack Obama or B Hussein: Post Racial Debate in Boston Legal (McFarland, 2012). Banh also co-authored with Yolanda Moses, Diversity Literature Review in Higher Education: The Next Research Agenda in Multiculturalism in Higher Education Journal (2010). Her current US research examines marginalized students in higher education investigating non-traditional college students’ successful traits and barriers. Specifically she looks at how Southeast Asian American, Central American, undocumented, Oaxacan, student-parents, veterans, and non-traditionally aged college students resources and deficits. Her second project is in Hong Kong, China where she explores the identity formation and growth of the Post 1980’s Democracy activists in the so called “umbrella movement.”

Melissa King is Faculty Chair of Anthropology at San Bernardino Valley College. She received her doctorate in Anthropology from University of California, Riverside, for which she conducted research primarily in Los Angeles and participated in a Summer Institute of the National Endowment for the Humanities at Columbia University. Her research interests include the Armenian diaspora and Armenian American communities; youth activism; genocide, denial, and survivorship; memory; and education. She works with student activists through organizations including Alpha Gamma Sigma, a California Community College Honor Society, for which she is an advisor. She has co-authored A Duty To Remember, A Duty To Forget: Examining Americans’ Unequal Memories of the War on Armenians and the War on Jews for Revue LISA (forthcoming) as well as published small pieces in American Anthropologist, Anthropology and Humanism, and H-Net.