Skip to main content
Style guide

Please consult any recent issue of ASR for examples of correct style. Please note that these instructions are guidelines only and are meant to facilitate the publication process. In most instances the copy editor will communicate with the author about appropriate modifications.

The manuscripts should be prepared as an MS WORD 97-2003 document (or as generic a MS WORD document). 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 (50–100 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")



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.


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).


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.


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


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 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 "l978–79"(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.


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.


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.


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:

(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).


The References section is essentially a "works cited" section. Except for personal communications (which are only cited in the text proper), all 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. 1. Book, single author.
  2. Ainsworth, Mary D. S. 1967. Infancy in Uganda. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  3. 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.

  4. 2. Book, multiple authors.
  5. Hammond, Dorothy, and Alta Jablow. 1992. The Africa That Never Was: Four Centuries of British Writing About
  6. Africa. 2nd edition Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press.
  7. 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."

  8. 3. References with more than one entry for an author.
  9. Mudimbe, V. Y. 1988. The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy and the Order of Knowledge. Bloomington:
  10. Indiana University Press.
  11. _________.1991. Parables and Fables: Exegesis, Textuality, and Politics in Central Africa. Madison: University of
  12. Wisconsin Press.
  13. Note. A three-em dash followed by a period takes the place of the author's name in the second entry.

  14. 4. Edited book, listed by editor(s).
  15. Douglas, Mary, and Phyllis Kaberry, eds. 1971. Man in Africa. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books.

  16. 5. Article in edited book.
  17. Werbner, Richard. 1996. "Introduction: Multiple Identities, Plural Arenas." In Postcolonial Identities in Africa, edited
  18. by Richard Werbner and Terence Ranger, 1–28. London: Zed Books.
  19. Note. Full first name(s) of editor(s) should be included if possible. The "pp." abbreviation is unnecessary before the page numbers.

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

  23. 7. Article in journal.
  24. Geschiere, Peter. 1988a. "Sorcery and the State: Popular Modes of Political Action among the Maka." Critique of
  25. Anthropology 8 (l): 35–63.

  26. 8. Manuscript in press.
  27. Mamdani, M., and Achille Mbembe. In press. "CODESRIA and Neocolonialism." In Comparative Approaches in
  28. Development Economics, ed. Jonathan Jones, Jennifer Flowers, and William J. Clinton. Cambridge, U.K.:
  29. Cambridge University Press.
  30. Note. Use this form only if the manuscript has been accepted for publication.

  31. 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).
  32. Munroe, Ruth H., and Robert L. Munroe. 1971. "Quantified Descriptive Data on Infant Care in an East African
  33. Society."

  34. 10. Paper presented at meeting.
  35. Onuegeogwu, M. 1978. "Urbanization in the Kano Close Settlement Zone." Paper presented at the 7th Annual
  36. Meeting of the Nigerian Sociological and Anthropological Association, Ibadan, November 15–19.

  37. 11. Foreign publication.
  38. Laburthe-Tolra, P. 1988. Initiations et sociétés secrètes au Cameroun. Paris: Karthala.
  39. 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).

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

  43. 13. Internet sources.
  44. 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.


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.


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.

African Studies Review
  • ISSN: 0002-0206 (Print), 1555-2462 (Online)
  • Frequency: 3 issues per year
African Studies Review (ASR) is the principal academic and scholarly journal of the African Studies Association. ASR appears three times per year in April, September, and December, and is one of the many benefits of membership. The mission of the ASR is to publish the highest quality articles, as well as book and film reviews in all academic disciplines that are of interest to the interdisciplinary audience of ASA members.
Title History
Currently known as:
African Studies Review
Vol 13 (1970) onwards
ISSN: 0002-0206 (Print), 1555-2462 (Online)

Formerly known as:
African Studies Bulletin
Vol 1 (1958) - Vol 12 (1969)
ISSN: 0002-0206 (Print), 1555-2462 (Online)