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.

Journal of African American History

For historians (or scholars analyzing primary sources) interested in publishing articles that address African American life, culture, religion, politics and movements against state violence. This is the top journal in the field of African American history. It is not a space for interdisciplinary work.

Though scholars from other disciplines are welcome to submit manuscripts, the journal singularly accepts historical works that engage primary sources, critiques secondary historical texts, and/or engages questions around historiography, sources, historical methods, and the discipline(s) of history more broadly.

The journal was founder by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, author of The Mis-education of The Negro, on January 1, 1916, and in its over 100 years of existence it has published thousands of articles, reviews, essays and roundtables featuring historians and other scholars of African American Studies and Women’s Studies. It was formerly known as The Journal of Negro History, and has featured scholarship from the incomparable W.E.B. Du Bois. To date, it is the publication of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

Many of the published essays have also been presented at the annual ASALH conference. As previously mentioned, the journal is overwhelmingly history based. It is home to historical “disciplinary decadence,” to borrow Lewis Gordon’s term. As such, scholars interested in submitting works should be cognizant of the methods and character of historical writing and should also be attentive to the journal’s emphasis on historical excavation that underscores African Americans’ contributions to American and transnational society, politics, religious life, and perhaps most significantly, social movements. For instance, there are numerous essays that explore the lives of Civil rights leaders, especially less prominent individuals, and there are other roundtables that raise questions about slavery and abolition, scholar-activists and the history of Black education, and also state violence, police brutality and mass incarceration in historical contexts.

Though strongly history based, the journal welcomes pieces that use black feminist and critical race theories to guide historical writing and consultation with the archive. However, the journal lacks work regarding the history of genders and sexualities in Black communities, and I think scholars, especially junior scholars and graduate students, will push the journal forward in this regard. (Reviewed by AG)

Useful for Submission

Word Count:  Essays should be no more than 35 typed, double-spaced pages (12 point font), including endnotes.

Issues per year: 4

Current volume number: 101

Articles per year: on average ~20/year though the numbers vary

Citation style: Chicago Manual of Style

Abstract length (if required): articles do not include abstracts, journal stresses more emphasis on manuscript, which will be peer-reviewed by other historians

Upcoming special issues (if available): “California on My Mind:  The Golden State in the African American Imagination.” []

Relevant Editors: senior scholars in African American Studies (namely historians) such as Mary Frances Berry (Penn), Nell Irving Painter (Princeton, emeritus), Darlene Clark Hine (Northwestern), Robin Kelly (UCLA), Gerald Horne (University of Houston); V.P. Franklin, main editor (University of New Orleans).

Another important note: there is no online submission system or email address where manuscripts can be sent. Instead, the journal requires that scholars print three copies and use snail mail.

V.P. Franklin, Editor
The Journal of African American History
The University of New Orleans
Department of History
900 University Avenue
2000 Lake Shore Drive
New Orleans, LA 70148
Phone: 951-827-1976

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.