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Instructions for Contributors

Part 1: General Guidelines for Manuscripts

The African Studies Review (ASR) is the flagship scholarly journal of the African Studies Association (USA). The ASR publishes the highest quality African studies scholarship in all academic disciplines. The ASR’s rigorous interdisciplinary peer review seeks to contribute to the development of scholarly conversations of interest to the diverse audience of the Association’s membership and to the growth of African studies in North America, on the African continent, and in a global comparative context.

All manuscripts should be submitted through the ScholarOne site for the African Studies Review. Prior to submitting the manuscript, the author should ensure that the manuscript complies with the following guidelines:

  1. 1) Length: a manuscript should be between 7,000 and 10,000 words (INCLUDING ALL NOTES/REFERENCES). Manuscripts that are slightly over or under these guidelines may be considered, but the editors may require that the manuscripts be edited to bring them into this range in order to be published.
  1. 2) All manuscripts are subjected to double-masked redacted anonymous peer-review.  The manuscript itself may not contain the author(s)’s name or affiliation, anywhere in the text, notes, or references. To assist with this process the key items that need to be observed are as follows:
  • Use the third person to refer to work the Author(s) has/have previously undertaken, e.g. replace any phrases like “as we have shown before” with “… has been shown before [Anonymous, 2007]”.
  • Make sure figures do not contain any affiliation related identifier
  • Do not eliminate essential self-references or other references but limit self-references only to papers that are relevant for those reviewing the submitted paper and cited anonymously.
  • Cite papers published by the Author in the text as follows: ‘[Anonymous, 2007]’.
  • For masking in the reference list: ‘[Anonymous 2007] Details omitted for double-masked redacted anonymous reviewing.’
  • Remove references to funding sources
  • Do not include acknowledgments
  • Remove any identifying information, including author names, from file names and ensure document properties are also redacted entirely and anonymized. 

Manuscripts that do not meet all these criteria will be returned to the author without review.

  1. 3) An English-language 100 word abstract concisely describing the topic of the manuscript and its scholarly significance must accompany all submissions. Authors are encouraged to also submit an abstract in French and/or Portuguese.
  1. 4) Sole Source: any article submitted must not have been published elsewhere, in any language, and it may not be under simultaneous consideration at any other journal. If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact one of the editors directly via email before submitting the manuscript.
  1. 5) The African Studies Review is a journal of the African Studies Association, and the Editors prioritize submissions that appeal to a diverse and interdisciplinary African studies audience. One way to become familiar with the language and framing of interdisciplinary African studies is to read multiple articles from different issues of the ASR. 

Specific style and formatting guidelines for manuscripts appear in Part 4, below.

Part 2: Proposing a Forum for the African Studies Review

As part of the ASR’s mission to publish the best new scholarship in the social sciences, arts, and humanities and engage our multi-disciplinary audience of African studies scholars and students, the African Studies Review periodically publishes clusters of three to five articles together as a forum. The publication of a forum as part of a regular issue of the journal allows our readers to explore a topic in greater depth and from multiple disciplinary, regional, and/or (trans)national perspectives. Because of the expansive disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and continent-wide remit, the ASR does NOT accept proposals for special issues.

A forum of three to five articles may be accompanied by either an introductory review essay (of 7,000 words) or a brief (3,000-word) introductory foreword by the forum sub-editor(s). If the introduction is proposed as a scholarly article, it will be sent out for peer review and must be submitted at the same time as the other articles. Alternatively, if it is a shorter foreword, it may not be peer-reviewed, and may be submitted via ScholarOne after all of the revised articles have been submitted and the editors have made final decisions about publication. The number of contributions is capped at 5 plus a short 2,000 to 3,000-word introductory foreword, or 4 plus a comprehensive review essay. Alternative frameworks may be entertained, but may not exceed a total of 50,000-60,000 words including all notes and bibliography.

All forum proposals will be assessed by the editors using various rubrics, but attention will be paid to the diversity of backgrounds and origins of contributors. Sub-editors proposing forums are strongly encouraged to ensure African and/or Africa-based authorship is a central element to any proposal. Forums excluding African authorship will NOT be considered.

The ASR is eager to work with sub-editors to produce compelling forums, and may entertain adjustments to requirements if a compelling rationale is offered. Forums, however, should not be viewed as a substitute for special issues or edited anthologies.

If you would like to propose a forum with the role of “sub-editor,” follow these steps:

1. PRELIMINARY RESEARCH: Thoroughly read three or four recent forums in the African Studies Review. Reflect on what works well and what does not. Consider how your proposed contributions speak to one another. Reflect on what advice you might give potential contributors to your forum.

2. EXPLORATORY PROPOSAL: Prepare a Word or PDF document consisting of a forum abstract of 300-500 words, along with a list all authors, affiliations, and titles. Please note, all listed authors must have consented to be included and committed verbally or in writing with the forum sub-editor.

3. SUBMISSION TO EIC: Email the Editor-in-Chief (Benjamin Lawrance, and explain what you have in mind as a topic and provide the document listed above. This Exploratory Proposal may be shared with and considered by the editors. Within approximately one month, you will receive an initial decision of accept or decline.

4. FULL PROPOSAL SUBMISSION: Upon receipt of a positive reply, please prepare a complete formal proposal as “sub-editor” for consideration by the entire editorial team and members of the Editorial Review Board, as appropriate. In drafting your forum proposal, begin each subsection on a new page, and provide the following in one single document as Word or PDF file:

  • Forum Title and Abstract: forum title and forum abstract of 500 words that indicates the common thread or thematic focus that unites all of the proposed articles, and the appeal of the topic to the ASR’s cross-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary readership, along with forum sub-editor(s)’ name, academic affiliation, and complete contact details;
  • Contributors: Complete details of the individual contributing authors’ names, titles, contact information, article titles, accompanied by 100-word English abstracts (and 120-word French or Portuguese if possible), a list of all images, maps, and video or audio files, and statement about the current status of each individual contribution (including any previous rounds of revision);
  • Compliance: A statement of compliance that the entire forum consists of original, previously unpublished work, not under consideration elsewhere, and that all submissions conform entirely to the manuscript submission requirements on the journal website;
  • Publicity: an agreement that you will draft a blog-post of 700-1000 words accompanied by appropriate images no later than four months prior to publication, as part of a social media outreach and publicity strategy. In your complete strategy detail, outline how, when, and where you will promote your forum, and include deadlines (if the proposal is accepted, this will be further developed with Cambridge University Press); and,
  • Sub-Editor(s): a description of the precise role of the proposed forum’s sub-editor(s) vis-à-vis coordination of submissions, reading, revision, feedback, and other editorial work, and all relationships with contributors, and declaration of any conflicts of interest.

5. DECISION: Editors will evaluate complete proposals and provide a decision within approximately one month, or as capacity permits, in consultation with the Editorial Review Board, as necessary. Editorial decisions are based on an assessment of the relevance of the topic/theme for the ASR readership, the diversity of the contributors, and current production constraints.

6. COMPLETE PROPOSAL SUBMISSION: If the proposal is accepted for review, the sub-editor(s) coordinate the submission of all submissions with respective authors, but authors must submit articles individually via ScholarOne. All articles must be submitted simultaneously, meaning within a one-week period. The sub-editor is responsible for ensuring each individual manuscript conforms to ASR requirements, outlined on the webpage.

7. MANUSCRIPT EVALUATION: Each manuscript will be evaluated independently by the editors to determine its suitability for the ASR. Decisions regarding whether to send individual articles out for double-masked redacted anonymous peer review rest with the editors. Sub-editors may propose names for potential peer reviewers, but reviewer selection is exclusively the remit of editors. Decisions about manuscripts generally require three reviews. Reviews are shared with authors and sub-editors. Decisions regarding individual manuscripts (accept, revise & resubmit, or reject) rest with the editors. Revised manuscripts will be evaluated by the editors and, may be sent for further review, accepted, or rejected. Accepted manuscripts may be subject to additional editing and revision and in-house copy-editing.

8. DEADLINES AND PRODUCTION: Deadlines for submission of revised manuscripts are generally sixty days from the date of decision letters. Tentative volume placement publication dates are provisional only. Please note that publication dates can shift as a result of a number of external factors as well as factors relating to the particular forum itself.

Part 3: Book and Film Reviews

All book reviews and film reviews are solicited by the Review Editors.

Part 4: Requirements for the Formatting of Manuscripts Submitted to the ASR

All submissions are made via ScholarOne. Authors must answer all questions before final submission is accepted. Submissions that do not conform to all style and format requirements, stipulated below, will be returned by the Managing Editor. Please consult any recent issue of ASR for examples of correct style.

The manuscripts should be prepared as an MS WORD document (.docx). Manuscript text should be single-spaced throughout.

Please include the following sections in the following order:

  • MS title (in boldface). Please note that for the sake of search-engine visibility, it is preferable to place the main clause of the title first, with any subtitle (e.g., the “poetic” or evocative phrase) following, rather than preceding, a colon.
  • Author name(s)
  • A short (~100 words) bio for each author, including institutional affiliation, e-mail address, and other relevant information (e.g., recent publications, ongoing research interests, etc.)
  • A short abstract (100 words) that summarizes the essential points of the paper (it is not meant to be an introduction or a mere list of topics).
  • Key Words (a short list, 5-10 words or short phrases)
  • Text (please do not number the pages or include any headers or footers)
  • Acknowledgments (if desired)
  • References (please note that this is essentially a works cited section; it should contain only references to works that have been cited in the text)
  • Notes
  • Tables or figures (each on a separate page). Please make sure that all such graphic elements are referred to parenthetically in the text (e.g., “see table 1”)
Textual Elements

PARAGRAPHS The first sentence of the article (or the first sentence after a subheading) is placed flush left. All other paragraphs are indented (you can use the .5 setting of the paragraph indentation setting in MS WORD). Do not leave a blank line between paragraphs. Text should be left-justified throughout except for block quotations, which are indented. Insert only one space between sentences. Use the New Times Roman 12 font.

SPELLING The primary spelling authority for the ASR is Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary ; the spell check function of MS WORD (set for U.S. English) will also suffice. In general, please use U.S. rather than U.K. spelling, except for direct quotations. When abbreviations are used, they carry periods (i.e., e.g.) except for the most familiar acronyms (such as UNESCO). Abbreviations for phrases such as “such as” or “for example” are acceptable only within parentheses; if they appear in the sentence itself, they should be written out. For state names, ASR prefers the conventional abbreviation rather than the postal code (Mass., not MA). All names and titles must be spelled out the first time they are introduced in the text, with the acronym placed in parentheses: for example, African Studies Association (ASA).

TEXTUAL EMPHASIS The only forms of textual emphasis used in ASR production are italics and bold (for section headings). Please do not format any text by underlining. Please note, however, that italics for emphasis within a sentence should be used sparingly, and mostly for the sake of disambiguating the meaning.

ITALICS Words in languages other than English are italicized at the first occurrence only; use appropriate orthography, including diacritical marks and accents. Subsequent occurrences of these words should not be italicized. Please note that italics are not needed for non-English names of organizations. Titles of published works (books, newspapers, journals) and of films are italicized. Foreign words and phrases in common usage (and found in an English dictionary) should not be in italics.

BOLDING is only used in the following contexts:

  • The title of the article
  • The word Abstract that precedes the abstract text
  • Section and subsection headings

HEADINGS If you wish to divide your article into sections, section headings may be used. Please do so sparingly, however—normally, only first-level headings (Head 1s) are needed. Head 1s should be placed flush left and in boldface. If Head 2s seem necessary, they should be formatted in boldface and italics. Do not use numbers as part of the section headings.

NUMBERS Numbers from one to one hundred are spelled out in the text, unless part of an enumeration that contains a number larger than one hundred (“67 infants, 114 children, and 50 adults”), in an arithmetical expression (“a frequency of 1 in 18”), or in a vote (“the bill passed, 76–69). Numbers from 101 upward are written as numerals, except for round numbers: three hundred, fifteen hundred, six thousand. Percentages are expressed in figures, with the word spelled out (98 percent). In reference to parts of books, numerals are not spelled out (“chapter 6,” “page 5”). Century designations are spelled out: “seventeenth century,” “nineteenth-century labor practices.” A decade is referred to as “the 1960s” or “the sixties” (not “the 1960's”). When inclusive pages are cited, digits are elided in the following manner: pages 100–103, 103-4 (not 103–04), 174–76. A span of years cited within a single century should appear as “1978–79” (not “1978–1979”). Please note that inclusive numbers or a span of numbers in a date (June 6–8) are separated by a one-en dash, not a hyphen. Dates should be written as June 14, 1980 (not 14 June 1980 or June 14th, 1980). Ordinal numbers, where necessary, should not be written in superscript (14th, not 14th; 2nd, not 2nd). Hours of the day are written as, e.g., 2:00 a.m., 6:00 p.m. Currencies are written with international currency codes with no space between code and amount as, e.g. USD200, GHS50, ZAR100 (not $200, or USD 200).

PUNCTUATION Use American-style punctuation: double quotation marks (but single quotation marks for quotes within quotes), periods and commas inside quotation marks, colons and semi-colons outside quotation marks. ASRuses the serial comma (“There were three children, thirteen adults, and six pets.”) A parenthetic dash should appear as a one-em dash with no space before or after the dash.

QUOTATIONS Direct quotations exceeding four manuscript lines of type should be set off from the text by indenting the entire quotation one stop from the left (i.e., .5 inches). No further indentation is necessary for the first quoted paragraph; the first line of subsequent paragraphs in the same block quote should have an additional paragraph indent. Any clarifying material added by the author within the quoted portion should be enclosed in square brackets. (However, minor syntactical changes do not require brackets around a single letter, as with an initial capitalization.) If the source of the citation is not clear from the text immediately preceding the quotation, it should be provided in parentheses at the end of the block quote, after the period. Omissions in a quotation are indicated by an ellipsis: three periods (each separated by a space) where one or more words have been omitted. If the omission occurs at the end of a sentence, an initial period after the last word precedes the ellipsis.

CITATIONS IN TEXT Parenthetic citations should be used in the text sparingly, and mostly for the sake of identifying the source of a quotation. They may also be used to point readers to important sources on a certain topic (e.g.: “see Smith 1996”). Please note that in-text citations are not needed for purely factual material (although important sources on a particular topic can be cited with a “see” note, as above, or explained in the body of an endnote). Please use self-citations (i.e., an author’s citation to him- or herself) sparingly; citations to the author’s previous work can also be explained in an endnote. Parenthetic citations should contain the name of the author and the date (no comma is used), and the page number of the quotation (please note the ASR does not use ibid):

(Smith 1996:132); or Smith (1996:132) if the citation is included as part of a sentence in the text.

(Bascom & Herskovits 1970); or Bascom and Herskovits (1970) in the body of the text. (Please note the use of the ampersand [&] in the former case.

For three or more authors use the abbreviation “et al. (Greene et al. 1991) or Greene et al. (1991)

Citations to several different authors (e.g., as important sources for the subject matter of the article) should be separated by semi-colons. Please note, however, that very long strings of parenthetic citations tend to be unpleasing cosmetically; in many cases, they should be moved to the endnotes section.

(Jones 1991; Smith 1982; Wilson 1986); or Smith (1982), Jones (1991), and Wilson (1986)

Citations to several references by the same author are separated by commas.

(Green 1985, 1990, 1996) or Green (1985, 1990, 1996)

If no author is specified, cite the issuing group or the publisher of the report.

(United Nations 1993), (Committee on Ethics 1991)

Interviews and personal communications should be cited in the text but not in the References section. Include the location andthe date of the interview or conversation.

Jane Doe (interview, Nairobi, August 21, 1998).

REFERENCES The References section is essentially a “works cited” section. Except for personal communications (which are only cited in the text proper), ###emll references cited in text must appear here. However, do not include any references that do not appear as citations in the text. Most Reference sections list only books and articles. In some cases (especially for manuscripts that contain a great deal of ethnographic data), it is useful to provide a list of quoted interviewees, along with relevant identifying information. Manuscripts that cite archival data also will need to include a separate subsection for archival references. In such cases, the copy editor will communicate with the author to request specific modifications to the usual References section.

Alphabetize the reference list by author’s last name. Two or more works by the same author or authors should be listed chronologically; two or more by the same author or authors in the same year should be alphabetized by the first significant word in the title and differentiated by lowercase letters following the date (e.g., 1977a, 1977b).

The following are examples of references. Please note the hanging indent form. Also note that inclusive pages (e.g., 1–35) are separated by an en-dash rather than a hyphen.

1. Book, single author.

Ainsworth, Mary D. S. 1967. Infancy in Uganda. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Note. Full first name(s) of author(s) should be included if possible. If a publisher has offices in two cities, only the first city named in the book should be included.

2. Book, multiple authors.

Hammond, Dorothy, and Alta Jablow. 1992. The Africa That Never Was: Four Centuries of British Writing About

Africa. 2nd edition Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press.

Note. Place only the first author’s name in reverse order. For name of publisher, do not include "and Company," “Inc.,” “Publishers,” “Publishing Company,” and so forth. If the city is not well known, include state name or country with place of publication unless the location is clear from the name of the publisher (e.g., a state university press). “Cambridge” should be differentiated as “Cambridge, Mass” or “Cambridge, U.K.”

3. References with more than one entry for an author.

Mudimbe, V. Y. 1988. The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy and the Order of Knowledge. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

_________.1991. Parables and Fables: Exegesis, Textuality, and Politics in Central Africa. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Note. A three-em dash followed by a period takes the place of the author's name in the second entry.

4. Edited book, listed by editor(s).

Douglas, Mary, and Phyllis Kaberry, eds. 1971. Man in Africa. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books.

5. Article in edited book.

Werbner, Richard. 1996. “Introduction: Multiple Identities, Plural Arenas.” In Postcolonial Identities in Africa, edited by Richard Werbner and Terence Ranger, 1–28. London: Zed Books.

Note. Full first name(s) of editor(s) should be included if possible. The “pp.” abbreviation is unnecessary before the page numbers.

6. Dissertation.

Ciekawy, Diane Marie. 1992. Witchcraft Eradication as Political Process in Kilifi District, Kenya, 1955–1988. Ph.D. diss., Columbia University.

7. Article in journal.

Geschiere, Peter. 1988a. “Sorcery and the State: Popular Modes of Political Action among the Maka.” Critique of Anthropology 8 (l): 35–63.

8. Manuscript in press.

Mamdani, M., and Achille Mbembe. In press. “CODESRIA and Neocolonialism.” In Comparative Approaches in Development Economics, ed. Jonathan Jones, Jennifer Flowers, and William J. Clinton. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.

Note. Use this form only if the manuscript has been accepted for publication.

9. Unpublished manuscript. Note that the very absence of publication information indicates that a manuscript is unpublished (there is no need to note “unpublished”). Both the title of an article and the title of an unpublished a book-length monograph appears in quotation marks (rather than italic font for the latter).

Munroe, Ruth H., and Robert L. Munroe. 1971. “Quantified Descriptive Data on Infant Care in an East African Society.”

10. Paper presented at meeting.

Onuegeogwu, M. 1978. “Urbanization in the Kano Close Settlement Zone.” Paper presented at the 7th Annual Meeting of the Nigerian Sociological and Anthropological Association, Ibadan, November 15–19.

11. Foreign publication.

Laburthe-Tolra, P. 1988. Initiations et sociétés secrètes au Cameroun. Paris: Karthala.

Note. The city name is anglicized, but the publisher's name is not. It is the author's responsibility to provide the correct form of names (“Alvarez Garcia, Manuel," not “Alvarez, Manuel Garcia"). Capitalization of non-English titles is in sentence style (only the first word of the title and any words always capitalized in the language are capitalized).

12. Translated publications.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Translated by Richard Nice. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.

13. Internet sources.

References to Web pages should contain the website address instead of publication information. In general, the Internet address can be shortened to provide just the general address of the site. Please delete any automatically generated hyperlink.

NOTES All notes should be formatted as endnotes following the References section. Note numbers should be inserted manually as superscript numbers in the text. Please do not use the “Insert Endnote” function of MS WORD; in other words, the notes should not be “embedded” in the document. In most cases, superscript note numbers can appear at the end of the sentence in the text; avoid placing note numbers in the middle of a sentence. Note numbers should never be attached to display material (the title or subheadings).

Where possible, combine notes within a paragraph; generally, one composite note at the end of the paragraph is sufficient.

Endnotes are useful mostly for added discursive material that cannot be included conveniently in the text or that is somewhat peripheral or inessential to the main argument. Particularly long strings of citations can also be moved from the text to the Notes section.

TABLES, MAPS, FIGURES, GRAPHS, PHOTOS, ETC. For articles containing graphic elements, the copyeditor will consult with the publisher, Cambridge University Press, and with the author regarding the adequacy of the images provided and any modifications that are needed. Please note that only black-and-white images can be reproduced in print, although color images can appear in the online version of the article. Graphics can be used only with the permission of the original source (which must be obtained in writing) and source information must be provided in a caption.

Language Editing Services

Contributions written in English are welcomed from all countries. Authors, particularly those whose first language is not English, may wish to have their English-language manuscripts checked by a native speaker before submission. This is optional, but may help to ensure that the academic content of the paper is fully understood by the editor and any reviewers. Cambridge offers a service which authors can learn about ###a href="">here. Please note that the use of any of these services is voluntary, and at the author's own expense. Use of these services does not guarantee that the manuscript will be accepted for publication, nor does it restrict the author to submitting to a Cambridge published journal.



African Studies Review now requires that all corresponding authors identify themselves using their ORCID iD when submitting a manuscript to the journal. ORCID provides a unique identifier for researchers and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript submission and grant applications, provides the following benefits:

  •  Discoverability: ORCID increases the discoverability of your publications, by enabling smarter publisher systems and by helping readers to reliably find work that you’ve authored.
  • Convenience: As more organisations use ORCID, providing your iD or using it to register for services will automatically link activities to your ORCID record, and will enable you to share this information with other systems and platforms you use, saving you re-keying information multiple times.
  • Keeping track: Your ORCID record is a neat place to store and (if you choose) share validated information about your research activities and affiliations.

If you don’t already have an iD, you’ll need to create one if you decide to submit a manuscript to African Studies Review. You can register for one directly from your user account on Scholar One or via

If you already have an iD, please use this when submitting, either by linking it to your Scholar One account or supplying it during submission by using the “Associate your existing ORCID ID” button.

Publishing your article as Gold Open Access

You will have the option to publish your article as Gold Open Access, enabling the final published version to be made freely available under a Creative Commons license. You might be required to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) for Gold Open Access. You may be eligible for a waiver or discount, for example if your institution is part of a Read and Publish sales agreement with Cambridge University Press. For more information about your Open Access options, please see here. For more information about the benefits of choosing to publish Open Access, see here.

Last updated January 17th, 2020