The Journal of African History (JAH) publishes articles and book reviews ranging widely over the African past, from ancient times to the present. Historical approaches to all time periods are welcome. The thematic range is equally broad, covering social, economic, political, cultural, and intellectual history. Recent articles have explored diverse themes including: labour and class, gender and sexuality, health and medicine, ethnicity and race, migration and diaspora, nationalism and state politics, religion and ritual, technology and the environment, and power and resistance.
"History Matters" are research-based, 2,000–4000-word pieces, that like research articles undergo double-blind peer review. The shorter format will decrease the time between submission and publication, allowing writers to engage public debates. We do not need to convince readers of this journal that history matters, but in this new format we invite writers and readers to make explicit connections between past and present. This might mean speaking to contemporary politics, struggles, and phenomena with the historian’s skills and toolkit, or it might include revisiting older work that did not receive its due and speaks to our moment. Most of all, we hope that submissions we cannot anticipate will spark our interest and help shape History Matters into a format that is agile and accessible.
Authors may submit contributions in English and, with pre-approval from the editors, French and Portuguese. Article manuscripts should not exceed 10,000 words, including notes. History Matters manuscripts should not exceed 4,000 words. An abstract of the contents of the article, not exceeding 150 words, should be included at the head of the main text immediately after the title.
Contributors should seek clarity, brevity, and simplicity of expression and avoid long sentences and unduly lengthy or short paragraphs. They should closely observe the conventions set out below (“Format and Style” and “Notes”).
Article manuscripts should be prepared in a widely used word-processing format, preferably MS Word. They should be double-spaced throughout. Lines beginning new paragraphs should be indented, except at the beginning of a section. Ample margins (at least one inch left and right, one and one-half inches top and bottom) must be left, and all pages should be numbered.
In order to facilitate anonymous peer review, manuscripts submitted for consideration should not bear the name of the author, nor should they have affiliations, notes, or acknowledgements that make the author’s identity obvious. Authors may, of course, add such acknowledgements if the manuscript is accepted for publication (see “Acknowledgements” below). Please note that the journal does not consider more than one manuscript from an individual contributor per twelve-months.
Where appropriate, maps, photographs, tables, and other illustrations may accompany the text: such illustrations are only appropriate where they will specifically enhance understanding of the text. As with the main document, each figure and tables should be uploaded into ScholarOne in their original graphic format (for fuller instructions, see “Maps, Tables, and Illustrations” below).
English Language Editing Services
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. We list a number of third-party services specialising in language editing and/or translation, and suggest that authors contact as appropriate: https://www.cambridge.org/core...
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.
Format and Style
Beginning with Volume 65, the journal’s style for article manuscripts is based on The Chicago Manual of Style 17th edition (see the separate preparation guide for reviews).
Acknowledgements of up to 150 words may be added when preparing an accepted manuscript for final submission. This double-spaced text should be placed under a bolded subheading labeled “Acknowledgements” placed directly after the conclusion.
Names of Publications
Italics should be used for the names of publications. Do not abbreviate periodical titles.
Dates should be written as “23 February 2010” (or “Feb.” in source references). Use BCE and CE, not BC and AD. Date spans should be elided per the inclusive years pattern described in CMOS17: 9.64 (e.g. 1795–1802, 1910–12, 115–114 BCE, 115 BCE–CE 15). Write “twentieth century,” rather than “20th century.” When used as an adjective, please hyphenate (e.g., “twentieth-century challenges”).
Capitalization should not be overused. In the text, the first letter of official or job titles are only capitalized when they directly precede a person’s name: so “President Jomo Kenyatta” but “The president made the announcement.” The names of organizations and government agencies such as “Oxfam” and “the Foreign Office” should be capitalized. Recognized regional titles such as “Southern Africa” and “West Africa” are generally capitalized; but use “sub-Saharan Africa” and “Atlantic world.” Titles in archival citations are capitalized (e.g. Governor to Secretary of State for the Colonies).
Please capitalize Black when describing people and cultures of African origin. Holy books such as “Bible,” “Qu’ran,” and “New Testament” should also be capitalized.
It is the journal’s convention to use the full title The Journal of African History.
Capitalize the first letter of all major words in the titles of books, book chapters, articles, and theses.
In English-language manuscripts, non-English terms should only be used when necessary. These words should be placed in italics for the first usage (roman thereafter) and immediately followed by a brief translation in parentheses (the translation can be expounded upon in the notes). Please note that if the term appears in Webster’s, italics and parenthetical translation are not necessary (e.g., qadi, vuvuzela, cercle).
In cases where articles are published in languages other than English, these pieces will be formatted as if in English (meaning, for example: no spaces before colons, semi-colons, question marks, or exclamation marks; double inverted commas rather than guillemets, with no extra space before or after quoted text; no brackets for ellipses; note markers go outside inverted commas and punctuation).
Please use first and last names for individuals (including other scholars) when first mentioned in the text. Thereafter, refer to them just by last names. In footnote citations, the journal generally expects contributors to spell out first and last names and, optionally, use initials for middle names. But initials for first names are acceptable in cases where it makes sense (W. E. B. Du Bois or C. L. R. James, rather than William E. B. Du Bois or Cyril L. R. James, for example). Please use a period and space after each initial.
Maps, Tables, and Illustrations
Maps should be prepared where the topography is important for an understanding of the text. Maps should show all relevant information, but only such information as is mentioned in the text. Maps should include a scale and north arrow, and map captions should generally contain the country’s name in addition to that of a more specific geographic region. Tables and illustrations are only appropriate where they will specifically enhance understanding of the text.
As with the main document, each figure and table should be uploaded into ScholarOne in their original graphic format (JPG, TIFF, etc.). Images should not be embedded as Word picture files in the text. Instead, the desired position for each figure or table should be flagged in the manuscript within brackets (e.g., <Insert Fig. 1 here>, <Insert Table 3 here>) with a line break above and below.
Line artwork (graphs) should be saved at 1200dpi and ideally saved as TIFF or EPS files. Halftones (photographs) should be saved at 300dpi and ideally saved as TIFF files. Where possible please supply figures at approximately the size of reproduction (with a hard maximum of 120mm x160mm).
When figures (including maps) or tables are included in a manuscript, provide a legend at the end of the manuscript listing each item with a caption title, the source (if not original), and any additional notes for each image.
Spell out whole numbers from zero through one hundred. For larger quantities and sets of inclusive numbers please elide with an en-dash (e.g., 103, 3–9, 64–102, 102–8). See CMOS17: 9.61 for further details.
Figures should be used for units of measurement, percentages (to be shown in the form “7 percent”, not “7%”), and any number that includes a decimal point.
Possessive apostrophes should be followed by “s” after personal names ending in s.
Punctuation and Abbreviations
Full stops (periods) should be followed by a single space. Abbreviations (such as ‘Prof.’, ‘ed.’, and ‘vol.’) and their plurals (‘eds.’, ‘vols.’) should be followed by a full stop, as should contracted titles (Dr. and Drs.). Ibid. and c. should be placed in italics and followed by a full stop. E.g. and i.e. may be used in the footnotes but not in the main text.
In notes please use the abbreviations ch. and chs. (not chapter or chapters). When citing a numbered or revised edition, use a comma followed by the abbreviated ordinal number and ed. (or rev. ed.) in roman and lowercase. E.g. Antony G. Hopkins, An Economic History of West Africa, 2nd ed. (London: Routledge, 2019).
The serial comma (as in red, white, and blue) should be used. For punctuation rules within footnote references, please see ‘Footnote Examples’ below. Please use ‘US’ and ‘UK’, not ‘U.S.’ and ‘U.K.’ And e.g. and i.e., not eg and ie.
‘Et al.’ should only be used where there are more than four authors/editors, and should not be italicized.
For works in translation, use abbreviation ‘trans.’
Hyphens, En-Dashes, and Em-Dashes
Hyphens are not used for “precolonial,” “postcolonial,” or “anticolonial,” but are used to attach small prefixes to words beginning with vowels, like “anti-evolution.” Use hyphens with pre, post, anti, re, de, etc. for proper nouns and numbers (e.g., anti-Hindu, post-1968, pre-Marx).
En-dashes are used for inclusive number ranges, notably including page numbers and dates.
Em-dashes with no spaces are used for sentence digressions.
Please double-check that quotations are accurate, especially those from primary sources.
Shorter quotations should be placed within double inverted commas. Single inverted commas should only be used in the rare instance of a quotation within a quotation.
If a quotation falls at the end of a sentence, place the closing inverted commas after the final stop, regardless of whether it is the end of the sentence or simply a phrase.
Quotations of more than forty words should be formatted as block quotes. They should begin on a new line, indented from the left-hand margin, without inverted commas and preceded and followed by a single blank line. Please avoid hanging block quotes: if a block quote is placed towards the end of a paragraph, follow it with a sentence or two explaining the significance of the quote to the overall point of the paragraph and/or manuscript.
Any use of italics in quotations, whether original or added, should be noted with the source. Material inserted within a quotation is to be placed in square brackets.
Spacing Indentation and Margins
Manuscripts should be double-spaced throughout. The start of new paragraphs should be indented, except at the beginning of a section. Please align left, use ample margins (at least one inch left and right, one and one-half inches top and bottom), and number your pages.
Spelling and Spell Check
Spelling (in English) may follow either British or American convention but must be consistent. Please consult the International African Institute for the preferred orthography for African words and names. When referring to people and languages, Bantu prefixes may be either uniformly included or uniformly excluded: thus “Mosotho,” “Basotho,” and “Sesotho,” or “a Sotho,” “the Sotho,” and “Sotho.” Please spell-check your text, and advise us about any special uses or variant spellings of words that we need to be aware of.
Sub-headings within the manuscript should be bolded and aligned to the left.
Notes should be footnotes, not endnotes. They should be numbered consecutively throughout the article (1, 2, 3 not I, II, III) and typed double-spaced. Footnotes should be placed only at the end of sentences and paragraphs. There should be no separate bibliography. The following footnote forms should be used:
First reference: Walter Rodney, A History of the Upper Guinea Coast, 1545-1800 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970), 1–20.
Subsequent reference: Rodney, A History, 1–20.
CHAPTERS IN BOOKS
First reference: Lynn Thomas, “The Modern Girl and Racial Respectability in 1930s South Africa,” in The Modern Girl Around the World: Consumption, Modernity, and Globalization, ed. Alys Eve Weinbaum et al. (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008), 96–119.
Subsequent reference: Thomas, “Modern Girl,” 97.
BOOKS WITH MULTIPLE VOLUMES OR PARTS
Volume should be in roman, italicized, and abbreviated as “vol”, and the number should be given with an Arabic numeral.
First reference: Jacob F. Ade Ajayi, ed., Africa in the Nineteenth Century until the 1880s, vol. 6, UNESCO General History of Africa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989).
Subsequent reference: Ajayi, Africa in the Nineteenth Century, 18.
To quote all volumes of a text:
Almamy M. Yattara and Bernard Salvaing, Almamy, 2 vols. (Brinon-sur-Sauldre: Grandvaux, 2000).
First reference: T. R. H. Thompson, A Narrative of the Expedition sent by Her Majesty’s Government to the River Niger in 1841 under the command of Captain H. D. Trotter, vol. 2 (London, 1968 ), 92.
Subsequent reference: Thompson, A Narrative 2, 105.
First reference: Motlatsi Thabane, “Liphokojoe of Kao: A Study of Diamond Digger Rebel Group in the Lesotho Highlands,” Journal of Southern African Studies 26, no. 1 (2000), 105–21.
Subsequent reference: Thabane, “Liphokojoe of Kao,” 106.
NEWSPAPER OR MAGAZINE ARTICLES
The first time a newspaper or magazine is cited, insert the publication city, if known.
First reference: Mabel D. Danquah, “On Suffrage in West Africa,” West Africa Times (Accra), 10 July 1931.
Subsequent reference: Danquah, “On Suffrage.”
ARCHIVAL AND UNPUBLISHED MATERIALS
The identity and location of each archive must be fully spelled out where it is first cited and placed at the start of the citation, but an abbreviated reference may be used thereafter.
First reference: Tanzania National Archives, Dar es Salaam (TNA) 61/701/1, letter from Secretary, Tanganyika Muslim Jazz Band Club to Provincial Commissioner, Eastern Province, 3 Apr. 1940.
Subsequent reference: TNA 61/701/1, letter from Secretary, Tanganyika Muslim Jazz Band Club to Provincial Commissioner, Eastern Province, 3 Apr. 1940.
First reference: Rhodes House, Bodleian Library, Oxford (RH) MS Africa s. 17, 4, J. Roscoe and A. Kaggwa, “Enquiry into native land tenure in the Uganda Protectorate,” 1906.
Subsequent reference: RH MS Africa s. 17, 4, J. Roscoe and A. Kaggwa, “Enquiry into native land tenure in the Uganda Protectorate,” 1906.
First reference: William A. Brown, “The Caliphate of Hamdullahi, ca. 1818-1864: A Study in African History and Tradition” (PhD Dissertation, Madison, University of Wisconsin, 1969), 1.
Subsequent reference: Brown, “The Caliphate,” 1.
First reference: Interview with Bakari Kamian, Bamako, 11 July 2002.
Subsequent reference: Interview with Bakari Kamian.
WEBSITES, ELECTRONIC BOOKS, AND ONLINE SOURCES
First reference: Alfred Anangwe and Michael Marlo, eds., “Wanga-English Dictionary,” 2008, http://ewbmsu.wdfiles.com/local--files/suggested-reading-outside-sources/wangadictionary.pdf.
Subsequent reference: Anangwe and Marlo, “Wanga-English.”
For Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, please use:
David Eltis, “A Brief Overview of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,” Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, (http://www.slavevoyages.org/tast/assessment/essays-intro-01.faces), accessed 1 Aug. 2023.
To cite specific output from the database, users need to generate a URL through the “create a link” function. Thus it would go: Title if any, Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, (specific URL), accession date.
Titles should be shortened when repeated to the first few words of the original title. Up to five words is acceptable in order to preserve identifiability of the source.
Please use “Ibid.” alone when citing the same page number and source as the previous citation. For the same source but a different page numbers, use “ibid.” followed by a comma and the relevant page numbers. Loc. cit., op. cit., and idem. should not be used.
New pieces by an author already cited should again list the author’s first name. Thus, subsequent citations might read:
1 Robert Harms, Land of Tears: The Exploration and Exploitation of Equatorial Africa (New York: Basic Books, 2019), 1.
2 Robert Harms, River of Wealth, River of Sorrow: The Central Zaire Basin in the Era of the Slave and Ivory Trade, 1500-1891 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981).
3 Harms, Land of Tears, 1.
When different chapters are used from an edited collection that has previously been cited, use the abbreviated citation for the editor’s name and book title, but not chapter author and title.
Please double-check the accuracy and consistency of your citations.
Be especially vigilant about the accuracy of your primary sources.
For footnotes that use an explanatory sentence prior to a citation, follow the sentence with “, see” before the citation, as in: “For the role of private traders in the initial development of the African slave trade, see Jose Curto and Paul E. Lovejoy, Enslaving Connections: Changing Cultures of Africa and Brazil during the Era of Slavery (Amherst, NY: Humanity Books, 2004), 29–55.”
Multiple citations in one footnote should be ordered according to the body content to which they refer; if all citations refer to a few sentences, they should be placed in alphabetical order. In a list of citations, only use ‘; and’ to separate the last citation if the citations are part of a sentence such as: ‘For more on the history of slavery in this region, see W book; X article; Y article; and Z book.’
Do not write out ‘page’ or any abbreviations of it; just list the page numbers. For direct quotes or specific citations, you only need to cite that particular page; if you are citing a general article or book chapter, please give the entire page range of the article or chapter.
All book citations should list the location where the book was published but not the publisher. In instances where a book is published in two places (New York and Cambridge, for example), you may choose either city. For non-English citations, follow non-English citation and capitalization practices, and list the location of publication in the foreign language, if applicable, such as “Lisboa” not “Lisbon,” “Sevilla” not “Seville.” Less readily identifiable locations should be followed by a comma and a larger location such as ‘Athens, OH’ and ‘Naivasha, Kenya’.
To cite footnotes within a secondary work, please note the page number the note appears on as well as the note number, if any. For example: “95n14” refers to footnote 14 on page 95.
For articles with doi numbers, please give the full doi number in place of page numbers.
For examples of footnote formats, please see the end of this checklist.
For institutional authors, do not abbreviate for repeated citations. For example, Kenya Land Commission, Report, 104.
The Journal of African History now requires that all corresponding authors identify themselves using an Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) 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 The Journal of African History. You can register for one directly from your user account on Scholar One or via https://ORCID.org/register.
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.
This journal publishes in accordance with Cambridge University Press’s publishing ethics guidelines, which apply to authors, peer reviewers, the editorial office and the journal as a whole. Anyone who believes that these guidelines have not been followed should raise their concern with the editor or email email@example.com.