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.

The Black Scholar

For those interested in publishing articles that address black life, black culture, black suffering, black death, black sexual politics, black religion, black liberation and all things related to black people in the Americas and across the African diaspora. This journal is widely considered to be the top journal in African American studies.

Founded in 1969 by Robert Chrisman and Nathan Hare, during the Black Power, Black Arts, and Black Studies Movements, The Black Scholar emerged as an intellectual space where scholars, activists, artists, and political leaders could convene to discuss issues related to black people living in the United States and across the globe. The journal publishes academic articles, poems, roundtable discussions, interviews, transcripts, book reviews, so on and so forth. Given the multiplicities of black expression, the journal prizes itself for being able to capture rigorous scholarly work in the same pages as more artistic, abstract pieces.

The Black Scholar is also a site of contention. Over its nearly 50 years of existence, the journal has featured debates on sexism, queer sexualities, class and classism, reparations, presidential campaigns, and multiculturalism, among many other subjects. Within its 46+ issues, the journal has also featured the likes of Muhammad Ali, Kwame Ture/Stokeley Carmichael, Anglea Davis, and Shirley Chisholm. The Black Scholar is the top journal in African American Studies and should be of interest to all who do work related to black people across genders, sexualities, class experiences, etc.

In the last five years, the journal has featured many debates and conversations on the future of black feminism, including attention to hip hop feminism and black feminist pleasure principles (See Volume 45, Issue 4 and Volume 46, Issue 2 for instance). There have also been issues completely devoted to popular culture, namely Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal (See “Scandalous” Volume 45, Issue 1). These types of special issues can be proposed to the editorial board, with suggested wording for the CFP. The journal also has transatlantic and transdiasporic interests (See “Black Dominican Studies” Volume 45, Issue 2) and there have been essays/issues devoted to the Caribbean and other parts of Latin America. The Black Scholar also welcomes issues and essays that critique Black Study or Black Studies (See “States of Black Studies” Volume 44, Issue 2).

Scholars across disciplines are encouraged to submit. Even those who are not traditional scholars inside of the academy are welcome to submit. The Black Scholar redefines intellectualism in the context of problack political movements, and calls into question hierarchies of oppression and systems of domination present in the binary of black scholar and black non-scholar, which are products of the academic industrial complex. TBS turns the word “scholar” on its head in a way that honors those in and outside of the academy in refreshing and convicting ways.

Reviewed by Ahmad Greene-Hayes

 Useful for Submission

Word Count:

  • “Full-length scholarly manuscripts for peer review should range in length from 5,000-7,500 words. Literary essays or public commentary should range in length from 3,000-6,000 words.
  • Book reviews should be approximately 750-1,500 words. A review essay may be longer, 1,500-3,000 words, especially if the book or books are of special importance.
  • All word counts are inclusive of endnotes and images, with images counting as ~300 words each.” (from TBS)

Issues per year: 4 (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer)

Current volume number: 46

Articles per year: varies

Citation style: Chicago Manual of Style

Abstract length (if required): 100-200

Upcoming special issues (if available):

  • Electoral Politics and Black Liberation: Historical Lessons and Contemporary Strategies
  • Black Queer and Trans*Aesthetics
  • Legacy of Chokwe Lumumba
  • New Studies in Gender and Black Sexuality

Relevant Editors:

  • Louis Chude-Sokei is the Editor-in-Chief for TBS.
  • Shireen K. Lewis is a Senior Editor for TBS.
  • Jonathan Fenderson is an Associate Editor for TBS.
  • Ashley M. Howard is a Book Reviews Editor for TBS.
  • Michael O. West is a Book Reviews Editor for TBS.
  • Shannon Hanks-Mackey is the Managing Editor for TBS.

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.