African American Review

A publication of Johns Hopkins University Press

African American Review is a scholarly aggregation of insightful essays on African American literature, theatre, film, the visual arts, and culture; interviews; poetry; fiction; and book reviews. Published quarterly, AAR has featured renowned writers and cultural critics including Trudier Harris, Arnold Rampersad, Hortense Spillers, Amiri Baraka, Cyrus Cassells, Rita Dove, Charles Johnson, Cheryl Wall, and Toni Morrison. The official publication of LLC African American of the Modern Language Association, AAR fosters a vigorous conversation among writers and scholars in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Submission Guidelines

African American Review (AAR) is a refereed journal that publishes critical essays on African American literature, film, fine and performing arts, and culture generally; interviews; "Forgotten Manuscripts" features; poetry; fiction; and book reviews.


AAR does not consider previously published works or simultaneous submissions. By submitting your work to AAR, you agree that it has not been published previously and is not under consideration elsewhere. Any violation of this policy will result in an immediate withdrawal of the submission by the editors. If you are found to have submitted any work to this journal while having also submitted to another, you will be banned for three years for the infraction. If any contract signed by the author must be revoked either by the author or by AAR because a simultaneous submission results in the revocation of said contract, the author will be restricted from consideration for publication in perpetuity.


Authors must submit all manuscripts via Manuscript FastTrack. Our documentation style follows the Third Edition of the MLA Style Manual & Guide to Scholarly Publishing. This manual encourages the use of intratextual documentation and mandates the inclusion of Works Cited lists at the manuscript's end. Manuscripts that do not follow MLA style are subject to immediate rejection. Also, manuscripts that are not paginated will be rejected. Authors must remove any identifying information from the submission, including cover pages, headers, bylines, etc.

Critical essays should be no fewer than 6,000 words and no more than 8,500 words, excluding endotes and Works Cited. If yours is an essay whose subject is art or film, we strongly urge that you include images to the extent possible. Images should not exceed seven in number and should be appropriately captioned and credited. Authors may submit only one essay at a time.

Forgotten Manuscripts - Because so much of African American literary, print, and cultural production remains unknown or ignored, and so much scholarly attention remains devoted to the most canonical texts and topics of the heritage, the journal will publish short occasional essays (1,500-3,500 words) that introduce and contextualize short excerpts (3,000-5,000 words) from manuscripts neglected but noteworthy to African Americanists in diverse academic disciplines as well as to readers generally interested in African Americana. While we do not demand originals, authors must submit, at the very least, facsimiles of the document(s) under discussion.

Fiction writers may submit only one work at a time. Stories should not exceed 3,500 words. Poets may submit no more than six works at a time; multiple poems should be bundled into a single submission.

Authors may submit either one work of short fiction or as many as six poems, but upon submitting an essay at one submission per author, you may submit no creative work. Any violation will result in the rejection of all such work submitted by any author, and will not again be considered if any of the same work is subsequently submitted separately. Also, please observe our policy prohibiting simultaneous submissions. If you are found to have submitted any work to this journal while having also submitted to another, you will be banned for one year for a first infraction. Any subsequent infraction will incur a penalty of five years. If any contract signed by the author must be revoked either by the author or by AAR because a simultaneous submission results in the revocation of said contract, the author will be restricted from consideration for publication in perpetuity.

REVISIONS: A requested revision should not be submitted as a new article. Under the heading "My Archived Submissions," click on the hyperlinked submission ID of your original article. On the following page, select "Submit Revised Document."

AAR does not consider unsolicited book reviews. Copies of books to be considered for review should be mailed to: Dr. Paul Devlin, Fitch Hall 2nd Floor, Humanities Department, United States Merchant Marine Academy, 300 Steamboat Road, Kings Point, NY 11024. (Paul Devlin's communications and decisions are not on behalf of the United States Government.)


N.B.: Authors are responsible for obtaining written permissions to reuse or reproduce previously copyrighted material and for paying any fees. Under the doctrine of "fair use," another author may make limited use of the original author's work without asking permission. Pursuant to 17 U.S. Code ยง 107, certain uses of copyrighted material "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright." All reproductions of images that are not legally possessed by the author must be cleared with the copyright holder of such images before submission to AAR. For more information on copyright and fair use, please visit the National Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov or the Legal Information Insitute at https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/106.

Materials published in AAR do not necessarily represent the views of the journal's editors, staff, or financial supporters, who disavow any responsibility for its contents.