Style Sheet

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We do not require that manuscripts submitted for consideration be formatted in any particular ways until they are accepted for publication.  Below is a description of the form in which we would like to receive the final draft of your article manuscript or book review. Please follow our “house style” as closely as possible. We reserve the right either to make necessary changes ourselves or to return any material to you with the request that it be reworked according to these guidelines.


Articles submitted for consideration:

  1. Send 3 hard copies, double-spaced, which will be sent out to readers. In addition, you may submit an electronic copy (as a Microsoft Word document) if you wish.
  2. Please remove your name from the first page of text and from any header or footer. (And if you’re planning eventually to include an early footnote that cites you or your dissertation, please consider waiting until the article has been accepted.)
  3. Attach a title page containing only the article title and the author’s name and address. The first page of text should repeat the title of the paper at the top, but no name.
  4. Note: We do not insist that articles under consideration meet our requirements for form. Once we have accepted your article, however, we will then expect you to make any necessary changes in form or style before returning the article to us (see next section).
  5. We assume that if your article is accepted for publication and you send us a final version as an e-mail attachment (or on diskette) that you have read and accepted these guidelines.

Revised articles accepted for publication:

Send us 1 hard copy, plus an electronic copy as an attached file via e-mail.  Please submit the electronic copy as a Word document, if possible.

  1. If you are including tables, please pull them out as a separate document called “Tables.” If at all possible, please type them as text, using tabs for spacing, and not coded as “tables” in your word processing program. Sometimes tables formatted in other word processing systems make our computers crash.
  2. Please enter footnotes as you go along, numbered automatically, and coded as footnotes to appear at the bottom of the page, not endnotes. (It’s very important if you later decide to delete a footnote, or to add a new one, that all the other notes will automatically be renumbered.)
  3. Notes must be in the form of usual historical footnotes, and not in social science form. (See examples of correct footnote form below)
  4. Footnote 1 must be placed in the text.   An explanatory note attached to the title of the article (e.g., “An earlier version of this article was presented at . . . “) should be marked with an asterisk *.
  5. Capitalization in the article text: The names of institutions are generally capitalized, but individual titles are not unless they immediately precede the name. (This is often confusing for scholars who have lived or worked in anglophone Africa, where the common usage is quite different.) Thus: governor, district commissioner, secretary of state, etc. / Governor Arnold; but: Parliament, the Foreign Office, the Department of Labor.
  6. Double quotation marks are used throughout, with the single exception of noting one quote within another: “‘We Are the World’: The Life and Times of Someone Great,” etc.

Diacritical Marks

We are unfortunately limited in our use of diacritical marks other than those built in to our word processing programs (generally those used for European languages).  References to words or titles in Arabic or Yoruba, for example, would appear in a somewhat anglicized form.

Maps, Graphs, Other Artwork

Maps, graphs, line drawings, and photographs may be submitted in digital form (e.g., as PDF or JPEG files).  If maps or graphs are submitted as hard copies, they must be the originals or first-quality photocopies (clear, high contrast, dark printing). These must be camera-ready and of high quality.  Mark their correct position in the text, in a separate line in between paragraphs: e.g.,   “Map 2 somewhere here.”

*Maps, graphs, and other artwork submitted as electronic files should not include the title in the image.  Instead, image titles should be submitted on a separate sheet, and this information will be added during the editing process.

General footnote form

  1. Please format the titles of books and journals directly in italics, if you can do so; otherwise underline them. (Note: dissertation titles are not italicized, but are set off in quotation marks.)
  2. Omit “p.” and “pp.” for page references (except when necessary to avoid confusion, as with certain archival materials)
  3. Omit “vol.” and “no.” for journal articles.
  4. Use author’s last name and a shortened title for second and later references rather than “op. cit.” or “loc. cit.”
  5. “Ibid.” may be used only if the preceding footnote contains just one item; or if you are referring to the exact same 2 or 3 entries in the previous footnote. It does not need to be italicized.
  6. Key words in the titles and subtitles of English-language books, articles, and dissertations are capitalized, even if they are lowercase in the original.
  7. Capitalization in footnotes: as above in footnote text (“The monthly reports of district commissioners are found in the Public Record Office”), but citations to correspondence in archives is usually treated like a title:1Roy Hubener to District Officer/Thabai, 23 January 1958, CN 2/3354/67, Kenya National Archives [hereafter KNA].
  8. We prefer that archival references proceed from the most specific to the most general, beginning with the specific document, then document, volume, or page number, and ending with the museum or archive.
  9. For book publication data, we use city and date, but not publisher’s name.

Examples of footnote form: Books

First reference:

1 Philip D. Curtin, Economic Change in Precolonial Africa (Madison, 1975), I, 275.

Later references:

15 Curtin, Economic Change, I, 34.

To show that an old book has been reprinted, cite the original date in brackets:

4 Jomo Kenyatta, The Tribal Life of the Gikuyu (1938; reprint, New York, 1995), 25-52.

Articles in Periodicals

First reference:

1 Kenda Mutongi, “Dear Dolly’s Advice on Love and Courtship,” International Journal of African Historical Studies 33, 1 (2000), 1-28.

Later references:
2 Mutongi, “Dear Dolly’s Advice,” 24.

3 Ibid., 22.

Articles in collections

First reference:

1 Sandra Greene, “Flora Nwapa’s Efuru,” in Margaret Jean Hay, ed., African Novels in the Classroom (Boulder, Colo., 2000), 25.

2 Judith Van Allen, “‘Aba Riots’ or Igbo Women’s War,” in Nancy Hafkin and Edna Bay, eds., Women in Africa: Studies in Social and Economic Change (Palo Alto, Calif., 1976), 100-106.

3 James A. Pritchett, “Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter,” in Hay, ed., African Novels, 52. [In this case, it’s the first reference to this article, but the second reference to the collection itself.]

Later references:

1 Greene, “Flora Nwapa’s Efuru,” 39.

2 Van Allen, “Aba Riots,” 102.

3 Pritchett, “Mariama Ba’s So Long a Letter,” 52.


1 Peter Alegi, “Keep Your Eye on the Ball: A Social History of Soccer in South Africa, 1910-1976” (Ph.D. thesis, Boston University, 2000).

For style guidelines for book reviews, please click on To Review a Book.