Prickly Paradigm was founded in 2002 by the anthropologists Marshall Sahlins and Matthew Engelke. But the press' roots stretch to 1993, when, in Cambridge, England, the anthropologists Keith Hart and Anna Grimshaw started a small imprint called Prickly Pear. They published a series of ten pamphlets by a range of authors—young, old, unknown, and famous—on a range of topics in anthropology, the history of science, and ethnographic film. “We emulate the passionate amateurs of history who circulated new and radical ideas to as wide an audience as possible,” they said. “And we hope in the process to reinvent anthropology as a means of engaging with society.”
Since 2002, Prickly Paradigm has published over 50 pamphlets, with influential titles on such matters as dogs, anarchism, counterinsurgency, and pizza. With a distribution network supported by the University of Chicago Press, Prickly Paradigm is committed to the unconventional in anthropology, critical theory, philosophy, politics, and more.