Reviews of Peer-Reviewed Journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences

We give you the scuttlebutt on academic journals—aiding you in selecting the right journal for publication—in reviews that are sometimes snarky, sometimes lengthy, always helpful. Written by Princeton University graduate students and Wendy Laura Belcher.

Comparative Literature

For those interested in publishing theoretically rigorous articles with large claims on different national or linguistic literatures and with a focus on transmission or circulation. This is the flagship journal of comparative literature (published by the association and thus sent to over 2000 subscribers) but it actively seeks “talented young scholars breaking new ground in the field” and backs this up by refusing to rank authors in published articles (by having no bio, only the university affiliation, so you don’t know if it is a graduate student or not).

The journal has always been squarely at the center of the field (i.e., espousing “new criticism” in the early 1950s, literary theory in the late 60s and 70s, the “globalization” of comparative literary studies in the 80s and 90s).

In terms of its style, it has wordless subheads (e.g., only I, II, III) and eschews quote marks around quotes in titles.

The article formula for this journal is (as it is for many top journals):

  • Start with a current event or a quote from someone else.
  • Cite an important theorist in your introduction whose work yours supports or critiques (Hegel, Aristotle, Spivak, Jameson)
  • Make huge claims with small readings. It’s all about the largeness of the claim in the introduction, not the importance or number of the texts/authors studied. If you can make it sound like your article is about something huge, say, Tragedy, Translation, or Transmission, it doesn’t matter what comes next (apparently).
  • Insist that a particular author or critic, is better, more progressive, more influential than previously thought.

ISSN: 0010-4124

About Wendy Belcher

Associate Professor, Princeton University, Department of Comparative Literature and the Center for African American Studies. Author of Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success. Instructor of Deep Reading Journals as Publishing Praxis.


This entry was posted on June 8, 2015 in Humanities Journals, Literary Studies Journals.