Guidelines for Submitting Manuscripts to the AHR
Inquiries for the AHR Editorial Office, including correspondence regarding manuscript submissions and books for review, should be addressed to Editor, American Historical Review, 914 E. Atwater Ave., Bloomington IN 47401-3600. Our e-mail address is email@example.com. We prefer to receive article submissions by e-mail attachment, in either Word or WordPerfect; we cannot accept a PDF file. (If you have questions about file compatibility, please contact our Production Manager at 812-855-7609.) Manuscripts should ideally not exceed 8,000 words in length, not counting notes, tables, and charts. Please include your full address, including your e-mail address, in all correspondence.
No manuscript will be considered for publication if it is concurrently under consideration by another journal or press or if it has been published or is soon to be published elsewhere. Both restrictions apply to the substance as well as to the exact wording of the manuscript. If the manuscript is accepted, the editors expect that its appearance in the AHR will precede republication of the essay, or any significant part thereof, in another work.
In considering submissions for publication in the AHR, the editors look for articles that are new in content and interpretation and make a fresh contribution to historical knowledge. Our primary criterion, however, is the appropriateness of each article for our distinctive audience. Because our readers embrace all fields of history and are located throughout the world, the AHR has a responsibility to publish essays that reach beyond the specialties that have enlivened yet also fragmented the discipline in recent years. Consequently, we seek manuscripts that can engage the common interests of as many historians as possible.
We realize that the historical scholarship likely to interest a large and diverse readership can be written in many ways. The editors try to identify those essays that not only demonstrate an author's command of a specific subject but also have the potential to communicate their implications to scholars working in other fields. Even a manuscript dealing with a very specific subject matter can be framed in a way that broadens its appeal to readers outside a particular field. It may, for example, effectively demonstrate a methodology that other scholars might find useful even though the subject matter of the essay itself is not directly in their field. Or it might add fresh insights into a historical experience in ways that would interest other historians concerned with the same experience in different spatial or temporal contexts. Manuscripts likely to engage common concerns may also be explicit discussions of historical methodology; or they may be review essays that analyze current trends in particular fields of historical inquiry.
Given our mandate to engage the interests of the entire discipline, we also seek articles that collectively address the spatial, temporal, and thematic dimensions of contemporary historical inquiry. For much of its history, the AHR published essays primarily on the history of the United States and Western Europe, largely because they constituted the bulk of our submissions, but also because of a Western bias as to what was considered historically of value. Although we certainly still welcome submissions in those fields, the editors have in recent decades actively encouraged, and continue to encourage, the submission of manuscripts on Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. We now also renew our commitment to understanding the past broadly not just in terms of geography but also in terms of time and periods. In an era when academic and popular conceptions of history are increasingly presentist in focus, a situation reflected in the preponderance of submissions to the AHR on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, we especially seek manuscripts in ancient, medieval, and early modern history.
Thematically, an earlier concentration on political history has been broadened in the AHR (as elsewhere in the discipline) with a diverse array of topics. Over the last ten years, cultural history and historiography have been given a more prominent place in our pages, as have the history of race and gender and, more recently, transnational and global history. While we continue to welcome submissions on these and other emerging topics of interest, we remain open to fresh approaches to more traditional sorts of scholarship, such as political, diplomatic, military, and economic history.
As we strive to fulfill our mandate to a diverse readership with a balanced presentation of fields and subjects, the editors construct the article section by applying these standards to the approximately 250 manuscripts that are submitted to the AHR each year. The vast majority of those essays are unsolicited, but we do on occasion commission articles on particular topics as well as essays and commentaries for AHR Forums, Roundtables and Exchanges. We are able to publish approximately one tenth of the manuscripts we receive. These articles are selected through a rigorous review process. Every manuscript is evaluated by the AHR staff. Those with the greatest promise are sent to members of the AHR Board of Editors for further review. Upon recommendation by board members, essays are then sent to specialists for a final, anonymous review. All reviews are designed not only to evaluate each manuscript's suitability for publication in the AHR but also to help authors clarify their argument and explain their essays’ broader implications.
Approximately one third of the manuscripts undergo this entire evaluation process. Those that we select to publish then often undergo a final round of revision and reevaluation. As a consequence of our evaluation methods, every article published in the AHR has been reviewed by at least six scholars, and often more. However, the editors are committed to a timely reviewing process. We do not maintain a lengthy backlog of articles, and we try to reach a decision about each manuscript within six to eight months of its submission. Though the process is rigorous, most authors are pleased with the results of these procedures, and many of their articles later win prizes.
As a final guide to publishing articles in the AHR, the editors would like to repeat the advice our predecessors printed on these pages forty years ago: "The AHR does not stand at the top of a pyramid of scholarly prestige, automatically to be tried first by an ambitious author before he moves on to a 'lesser' journal. Rather, the AHR, with certain other general periodicals, has another purpose than the specialized journals, defined—in both a limiting and a liberating sense—by its readership. It is concerned with large, persistent themes and genuine, broadly interesting innovation; it is a vehicle for general scholarly communication or for specialized studies that transcend the normal boundaries or expectations of their fields. It therefore stands as testimony, however fragmented and isolated the various fields of history sometimes seem, to the essential unity of the profession" ("Articles for the AHR: An Editorial," American Historical Review 75, no. 6 [October 1970]: 1580).
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