Style Guide for Anthropology Papers

Revised 9/1/2002

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The Anthropology Department at Colorado College recommends that students use the style guide established by the American Anthropological Association (hereafter, the AAA ). Most questions about how to cite, what to capitalize or italicize, etc., are found in the AAA guide which forms the basis of the department's document on style. The CC Anthropology Department Style Guide for Anthropology Papers, however, adds a few source citations to the ones listed by the AAA, provides specific guidelines for paper formatting (margins, font size, pagination, etc.), and gives below some specific instructions for acknowledging sources in the body of your paper.

The complete text of the AAA Style Guide can be found online at:

The AAA Style Guide uses The Chicago Manual of Style and Webster's Tenth New Collegiate Dictionary. This guide is an outline of Chicago and AAA style rules used for all books and journals edited and produced in-house by the AAA Publications Department. Where no rule is present on this list, follow The Chicago Manual of Style or Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. In Webster's, use first spelling if there is a choice, and use American spellings, not British.

Acknowledgment in text:

Many anthropological journals use a similar system for in-text references. However, they may vary a bit from one subdiscipline to another. The style employed by the journal, American Anthropologist, is generally accepted within the department, but you should check with your individual professor. Be consistent throughout your paper. All direct quotes -- and this includes photocopies of tables, figures, etc. -- must be acknowledged precisely, including the page from which they are taken. The acknowledgment is simply the author, date, page number. Example:

"A captive man was given a wife, but after several months or a year, he was ceremonially killed. While being tortured, the victim was permitted to pelt his captors with stones and to boast of his courage" (Steward and Faron 1959:331).

NOTE: Quotation marks immediately follow last word quoted, but punctuation follows reference.

You may sometimes want to quote a quotation, in which case you must mention both original source, and source which you consulted. This is partly a protective device. It not only admits that you did not see the original, but it also announces that you are not responsible for errors made by the source which you did consult. (For future reference, it is always preferable to hunt down the original yourself. This may not be practical for some undergraduate papers, however). Example:

They made us march in this the chief square of the village [of Tellico]...Then they buried at the foot of the tree a parcel of hair from each one of us, which the savages had preserved for that purpose from the time when they cut our hair off (Antoine Bonnefory 1741, quoted in Williams 1928:153).

NOTE: The bibliography would list only Williams, S.C., Early Travels in the Tennessee Country. Johnson City, Tenn: The Watauga Press, 1928. Also, as in the quote above, leave three dots to indicate words not quoted, and enclose words added to a quote in brackets.

Footnotes: Keep them to a minimum, and place them at the bottom of each page.

References Cited:

Use the common anthropological style. Examples to solve most problems will be found on subsequent pages under the section titled References. Mention in your bibliography only those sources which you have consulted. List nothing which is merely referred to in a consulted work. Order is alphabetical by author, chronological for a single author.

Where is the book published? This again is simple, although it may look complicated. Below is a characteristic example of the problem:

Downs, James F.
  1972 The Navajo. New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas,
       Montreal, Toronto, London, Sydney: Holt, Rinehart, Winston.

The publisher is bragging about how many offices it has. Cite only one city, usually the most important city. Which city do you cite? It depends on where you are writing the paper. If in the U.S., it would be New York; if in Canada, Toronto; if anywhere in Europe, London; if in the Pacific, Sydney; if elsewhere, take your pick. Do you list the state as well as the city? That's a judgment call. List the state only if necessary for clarity. Books are published by numerous presses both in Cambridge, MA and in Cambridge, England. If you just saw the city of Cambridge listed in the bibliography would you be able to tell the difference? When in doubt, specify.

General formatting instructions:

Font Size: Your paper should be printed or typed in an 11 or 12 point font.

Print Quality: Make sure the final print copy is dark and easy to read.

Paper Size: 8 l/2 x 11 inches
Use one side of page only. This includes charts, graphs, illustrations, etc.
Corrections: All corrections must be cleanly made and typewritten.

Preliminary pages: (Turabian has good samples). Most papers other than theses will not have preliminary pages such as acknowledgments, lists of figures and tables, etc.
Text: Double spaced
Footnotes: Single spaced
Long quoted passages ( 5 or more lines): single spaced and indented one tab stop (usually 1/2 inch); see "Format for block quotations/excerpts" below for details
Bibliography: single spaced for each entry; double spaced between entries (see examples below).

Margins: All margins (top, bottom, left, right) are 1 inch for regular course papers.
NOTE: a 1 inch left margin is required for senior papers to allow for binding of the completed work.

Pagination: Preliminary Pages: Includes index, table of contents, list of tables, graphs, illustrations, and preface. Use small Roman numbers (i, ii, iii, etc.). Title page is page i, but the number does not appear.

Text: Use Arabic numbers (l, 2, 3, etc.) at top center or top right, except on pages carrying major heading, or first page of chapter in which case place number at bottom center. Every page to be numbered consecutively, including -- tables, graphs, illustrations, bibliography etc.

Title Page: The title page should be centered. It should include the following information: title, author, date. course title, and instructor's name. For thesis, please consult specific guidelines.

NOTE: Don't forget to sign the Honor Code!


Per Webster's and Chicago Manual of Style.

Events (Chicago 7.65)

  • Capitalize historical, quasi-historical, political, economic, and cultural events/plans: Battle of the Books, Boston Tea Party, Industrial Revolution, Great Depression, depression, the Holocaust, California gold rush, civil rights movement, cold war

Fields of study

  • Do not capitalize: B.A. in anthropology, the sociology department, studied psychology at SUNY

Figures, tables, appendices (exception to Chicago)

  • Capitalize in text if they refer to items within the present work: "In Figure 1 . . ."; "As you can see in Table 2 . . ." Lower-case if they refer to those in other works: "In Johnson's figure 1 . . ."

Historical/cultural terms

  • Lower-case, except where capitalized by tradition or to avoid ambiguity, per Chicago and Webster's: Middle Ages, Restoration, Progressive Era, Roaring Twenties, Stone Age, colonial period (U.S.), romantic period, nuclear age

Names of organizations, committees, associations, conferences (Chicago 7.47-7.59)

  • Capitalize full official names; lower-case when they become general. Examples: Circuit Court of Cook County, county court; Chicago City Council, city council, council; Bureau of the Census, Census Bureau, the bureau, federal, congressional
  • Lower-case "the" preceding a name, even when it is part of the official title.

Place names (Chicago 7.34)

  • Capitalize geographical and popular names of places: Antarctica, Central America, North Pole, Orient, Asia, Ivory Coast, Atlantic, Upper Michigan, Back Bay (Boston), Foggy Bottom (D.C.), City of Brotherly Love, the States
  • Directions should be capitalized when used as a name, but not when used as a direction: Far East, the South, the West, the Western world, Westernize, North Pole, South Pacific, southeastern, northern Michigan, the south of France; the Southwest (n), but southwestern (adj); Pacific Islands, Caribbean Islands; North India, South India, Western Samoa (if seems accepted as an area, OK to cap); western Europe

Race/ethnicity (Chicago 7.32-7.33)

  • Capitalize names of linguistic, tribal, religious, and other groups. Lower-case designations based on color, size, or local usage. Examples: black, white, Latina, Hispanic, American Indian, redneck, Alaska Natives, Euro-American, Jew, Mesoamerican, highlander, Indo-European, Native Americans, Pacific Islander, mestizo. African American (n, adj; cap, no hyphen). Cap Australian Aboriginal and Aborigine, but lower-case aboriginal otherwise.


  • Capitalize civil, military, religious, and professional titles only when they immediately precede the name. In formal usage, such as in acknowledgments or in lists of contributors, capitalize the title following the name: Louise Spindler, John Smith Professor Emeritus at Yale University; Professor Spindler, the professor of Education Studies; a professor emeritus; Henry Trueba, chair of the Department of Education Studies; the chair of the department
  • For academic degrees/titles, capitalize when formal, lower-case when informal: Louis Spindler, Ph.D.; a Master of Science degree from University of Virginia; a master's degree in education

Titles of works (Chicago 7.123)

  • For titles of works in AAA journals, references, and notes: change capitalization only. Do not change anything else--even spelling or punctuation.
  • Capitalize both words in a hyphenated compound.


Spell out numbers in the following instances:

  • one through ten
  • larger numbers when used in the approximate sense: About a hundred soldiers were killed

Age: 24 years old, 11 months old, a 34-year-old woman, in his thirties

Dates: ninth century, 20th century; 1960-65; 1960s; the sixties; October 6, 1966; April 1993 (no comma); A.D. 1200; 1000 B.C. (caps); April 18, not April 18th

Fractions: Hyphenate as both adj. and noun: a two-thirds majority, two-thirds of those present

Ordinals: Use nd/rd: 22nd rather than 22d, 23rd rather than 23d


  • Use numerals for above ten and spell out measurement: 26 millimeters, five miles; but in areas of very heavy usage and in tables, OK to use 26 mm, 5 g, 10 mph
  • Express round numbers above 1 million in numerals + words: 20 million
  • 20 percent (and see Chicago 8.17), but in areas of heavy usage and in tables, OK to use %
  • Use commas in 4-digit numbers: 4,508 (but p. 1409)

Series: When dealing with more than one series of quantities, use numerals: "The first shape had 4 sides, the second had 7, and the third had 3." Also, when small numbers occur in a group with large numbers, set them all in numerals for consistency.

Use numerals for numbered items such as parts of a book: chapter 5, part 2, page 35, volume 4.

Times: 2:00 p.m., noon

Inclusive numbers: Use all numbers except in year spans: 893-897; 1,023-1,045; but 1989-92


Foreign terms

  • Italicize only those foreign terms that do not appear in the main section of Webster's. Italicize them on first use only, but allow exceptions in cases of problematic terms (e.g., the Japanese word "ie"). Plural "s" sets in Roman.

Words as words

  • Italicize words used as words in written context, but when spoken context is implied, use quotation marks: "A speech event is a way of speaking"; "What he calls `incorporating practices' are ways . . ."


  • Italicize word, not brackets.

Legal usage

  • Use italics for names of legal cases (Chicago 7.69).


Initial letter: OK to change case of initial letter of quote to fit sentence without using brackets.

Spelling/punctuation corrections: Leave all spellings and punctuation alone in quotes; use [sic] if necessary, and give an explanation in text if absolutely necessary.

Yes and No

  • Do not use quotes for yes or no except in direct discourse (Chicago 10.33).

Format for block quotations/excerpts

  • Block quotations of 5 or more continuous lines.
  • If italics have been added, specify: [Smith 1993, emphasis added]
  • If paragraphs occur within a continuous block, the first paragraph should have no indent, but subsequent paragraphs should be marked by indents rather than extra leading.
  • Per Chicago 10.29, "when a quotation run into the text in the typescript is converted into a block quotation by author or editor, the initial and final quotation marks must be deleted and the internal marks changed."
  • Do not use initial ellipses.
  • Within articles, indent left, use smaller type.
  • Within reviews, comments, special sections, indent left, use same type size
  • Use brackets for callouts at the end of a block.


AAA Reference Style is as follows, punctuation/italics as indicated.

  • All references must be cited in author-date form; all author-date citations must be referenced.
  • Use full first names when possible for authors and editors (but not if author goes by initials).
  • Use space between initials: T. S. Eliot
  • In book reviews and other reviews, references are handled in text instead of at end of chapter.
  • Use "et al." in text citations of 3 or more authors. In References Cited, spell out all names.
  • In in-text citations (author/date), use colon between year and page number instead of comma. For instance, use Waterman 1990:3-7 instead of Waterman 1990, 3-7 (exception to Chicago).
  • Don't use state name with city of publication unless city is obscure or there are several with that name. Where state name is used, use two-letter postal code.
  • Do not use ibid. for repeated references.
  • Place text citations as near the author's name as possible; place quotation citations after the quote.
  • When citing an author, put the year in parentheses, but when citing a work, put the year (and page numbers, if applicable) in the running text.
  • Newspaper names used as authors in citations are italicized, but as authors in references they are roman.
  • Cite a specific volume of a referenced work by inserting the volume number after the year (e.g., Waterman 1990, 2:3-7). If only one volume of the work is cited in article, reference only that volume and don't include volume number in citation.

A. Single-author book

Castles, Stephen
1984 Here for Good. London: Pluto Press.

B. Coauthored book

Bonacich, Edna, and John Modell
  1980 The Economic Basis of Ethnic Solidarity: Small Business in
       the Japanese American Community. Berkeley: University of
       California Press.

C. Author, with others

Bonacich, Edna, with Mark Smith and Kathy Hunt
  1980 The Economic Basis of Ethnic Solidarity: Small Business in
       the Japanese American Community. Berkeley: University of
       California Press.

D1. One author, more than one reference

Kroeber, A. L.
  1939 Cultural and Natural Areas of Native North American. Berkeley:
       University of California Publications in American Archaeology and
       Ethnology 38.
  1948 Anthropology. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co.

D2. One author, more than one reference, same year of publication

Gallimore, Ronald
  1983a xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
  1983b xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

E. Work accepted for publication

Spindler, George
  In press In Pursuit of a Dream: The Experience of Central
        Americans Recently Arrived in the U.S. Stanford: Stanford
        University Press.

F1. Work submitted for publication, unpublished work

Spindler, George
  n.d. Education and Reproduction among Turkish Families in
       Sydney. Department of Education, University of Sydney,
       unpublished MS.

F2. Unpublished, dated work

Earnshaw, Peggy L., Galen L. Goldsmith, Virginia L. Maurer and
Steven L. Miles
  1973 A Study of San Miguel del Vado. Paper for Anthropology 414,
       Ethnohistory of the Southwest. The Colorado College.

G. Chapter in book with editor(s)

Rohlen, Thomas P.
  1981 Education: Policies and Prospects. In Koreans in Japan:
       Ethnic Conflicts and Accommodation. C. Lee and George DeVos, eds.
       Pp. 182-222. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Price, T. Douglas
  1993 Issues in Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Research. In Hunting
       and Animal Exploitation in the Later Palaeolithic and Mesolithic
       of Eurasia. Gail Larsen Peterkin, Harvey M. Bricker, and Paul
       Mellars, eds. Pp. 241-244. Archeological Papers of the American
       Anthropological Association, 4. Arlington, VA: American
       Anthropological Association.

H. Editor as author

Diskin, Martin, ed.
  1983 Trouble in Our Backyard: Central America in the Eighties.
       New York: Pantheon Books.

I. Article in journal (If page numbering does not continue throughout volume, include issue number in parentheses after volume number.)

Moll, Luis C.
  1986 Writing as Communication: Creating Strategic Learning
       Environments for Students. Theory into Practice 25:102-108.

J. Article in journal theme issue

Rutherford, Danilyn
  1996 Of Birds and Gifts: Reviving Tradition on an Indonesian
       Frontier. In Resisting Identities. Theme issue. Cultural
       Anthropology 11:577-616.

K. Book in a series

Bartlett, H. H.
  1973 The Labors of the Datoe and Other Essays on the Batak of
       Asakan (North Sumatra). Michigan Papers on South and Southeast
       Asia, 15. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.

L. One volume in a multivolume work

Clutton-Brock, Juliet, and Caroline Grigson, eds.
  1983 Animals and Archaeology, vol. 1. Hunters and Their Prey.
       BAR International Series, 163. Oxford: British Archaeological

M. Review

Trueba, Henry T.
  1986 Review of Beyond Language: Social and Cultural Factors in
       Schooling Language Minority Students. Anthropology and Education
       Quarterly 17:255-259.

N. Report

Kamehameha Schools
  1977 Results of the Minimum Objective System, 1975-1976.
       Technical Report No. 77. Honolulu, HA: Kamehameha Schools,
       Kamehameha Elementary Education Program.

O. Ph.D. dissertation or master's thesis

D'Amato, John
  1986 "We Cool, Tha's Why": A Study of Personhood and Place in a
       Class of Hawaiian Second Graders. Ph.D. dissertation, University
       of Hawaii.

P. Presented paper

Shimahara, Nobuo K.
  1983 Mobility and Education of Buraku: The Case of a Japanese
       Minority. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American
       Anthropological Association, Chicago, November 18.

Q. Reprint/translation

Gennep, A. van
  1960[1908] The Rites of Passage. M. Vizedom and M. Caffee,
        trans. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

R. Subsequent edition

Gallimore, Ronald
1986 Qualitative Methods in Research on Teaching. In Handbook of
       Research on Teaching. 3rd edition. M. C. Wittrock, ed.
       Pp. 119-162. New York: Macmillan.

S. Article in a newspaper or popular magazine

Reinhold, Robert
  1986 Illegal Aliens Hoping to Claim Their Dreams. New York
       Times, November 3: A1, A10.

T. Personal communication (including e-mail, listserv, and newsgroup messages)

Should be cited in text, with specific date, but not in references. Example: "Horace Smith claims (letter to author, July 12, 1993) that . . ."

U. Court case

Should be cited in text but not in references. Example: (Doe v. U.Mich., 721 F. Supplement 852 [1989]). See Chicago 16.174 for details.

V. Internet document

Use this format (the "URL") for documents obtained at FTP or Telnet sites (ftp://...), WWW sites (http://), and gopher sites (gopher://):

Rheingold, Howard
1992 A Slice of Life in My Virtual Community. Electronic document.

W. No author publication

1975 Adobe 1(2). Publication of Centennial High School, San Luis,
1975 vol. 1, no. 2. Publication of Centennial High School, San Luis,

X. Archival material

Woodward, Charles H.
  n.d. Manuscript notes on Woodard Textile Collection, Colorado State
       Historical Society Museum, Denver.
Blackmore Papers. New Mexico State Records Center and Archives.
  Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe (AASF)
  Arroyo Hondo, Books of Baptism, Marriage, Burial; Taos, Books of
  Baptism and Burial (Microfilm Roll M41)

Y. Government documents (Turabian has several examples, all of which are acceptable)
Other AAA Style Rules and Word Treatments

Abbreviations: Do not use in narrative text in most cases (see Chicago 14.31).
Appendixes: Place at the end of the article, after references.
Arctic (n); rctic (adj)
basketmakers (artisans); Basket Maker (cultural period)
bride-price (per Webster's)
bridewealth (per Webster's)
Classic Maya
Commas between clauses: Use commas between clauses separated by conjunctions unless the clauses are short and closely related. Also, use commas around parenthetical elements:

It is right here, in the center of the room, that we should put the bookcase.
It was the January 3, 1993, issue of the journal.
It was wrong in the Abilene, Texas, version of the law.

Comma, series: Use a series comma--in a series of 3 or more items, a comma is used between the next-to-last item and the and, as follows: The umbrella was red, blue, and white.
coresident; coworker
e-mail: No need to spell out; no caps
Euro-American (not Euramerican)
fax: No caps
field notes; fieldwork; fieldworker
full-time; part-time (hyph. in any position as adj)
The Hague (but the Netherlands; check Webster's)
Heads: Do not number heads; use bold face or italic to indicate level of head
health care systems; but federal and state health-care systems (if it makes it clearer, hyphenate)
he/she: Use "he or she" or "they" or another workaround. See Casey Miller & Kate Swift, The Handbook of Nonsexist Writing: For Writers, Editors, and Speakers, 2nd edition. New York: Harper & Row, 1988; also, Marilyn Schwartz and the Task Force on Bias-Free Language of the Association of American University Presses, Guidelines for Bias-Free Writing, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.
a historical study (not an historical study); a hotel
i.e., e.g., etc.: Use only in parentheses unless unavoidable
Initials: Use a space between two initials: T. S. Eliot
Letters as shapes: Leave normal font (i.e., do not use with sans serif typeface) in cases such as U-shaped, L-shaped
Ligatures: Do not use except in an Old English language piece
Linguistic translations: Do not use half-quotes for linguistic translations unless the article is heavily linguistic and use is consistent in manuscript.
Lists: Run lists into text with numbers: (1), (2), (3), not (a), (b), (c). If the list is quite long, break out into excerpt style.
m.y.a. (million years ago); B.P. (before the present); b.p. (before the present, uncalibrated)
non-kin (hyphenate if necessary to avoid confusion)
nonnative (per Webster's 10th)
Note numbers: Don't put any superior figures with display type such as heads and epigraphs unless unavoidable
rain forest (per Webster's)
re-create (create again)
semi-independent; semi-indirect (use hyphens to avoid double vowels)
Spelling: Where alternate spellings exist, use the Webster's preferred spelling with AAA exceptions listed in this style sheet.
States: Spell out state names in text. In notes, references, tables, addresses, etc., use 2-digit postal abbreviations (e.g., AL, TX--see Chicago 14.17).
Table/figure callouts: Every table and figure has to have a callout in text.
toward (not towards)
Teotihuacan (Nahuatl, without accent on last a; Spanish, with accent)
underway (adj); under way (adv)
worldview (per Webster's)

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