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Journal of American Folklore Information for Contributors

CFP: A Special Issue of Journal of American Folklore: African American Expressive Culture and Protest, Imagination and the Dreams of Blackness

Posted: August 4, 2020 

The editors of the Journal of American Folklore are seeking submissions for a special issue, African American Expressive Culture and Protest, Imagination, and Dreams of Blackness.

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” - Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God)

JAF invites you to contribute creative, reflective, or scholarly work to chronicle the current movement for racial and social justice. This multidisciplinary issue will include the work of activists, artists, and scholars to showcase the power of Black artistic expression, beauty, and identity.

In an uncertain time of COVID-19, the efforts to dismantle white supremacy, and the age of Black Lives Matter, the editors of the JAF recognize that this moment is not isolated; instead, it is a part of a broader continuum in the work of Black liberation. The editors are most interested in submissions by Black contributors because this “moment" of U.S. history should be told by those on the frontlines who are the most active in the streets, organizations, digital platforms, and scholarly debates.

As folklorists, the editors of JAF value that every single individual and their story, and every little bit of artistry makes up the complexities of our world and are thus worthy of attention, and welcome submissions featuring or about any type of artistic expression that relates to the current protests (signs, songs, music, jokes, memes, cartoons, murals, sermons, narratives about personal experiences, etc). The editors are especially interested in work that engages the themes of aesthetics, theological reflection, intergenerational dialog, gender, and history. The focus will be on the U.S., but submissions that contribute a global perspective are welcomed.

The editors invite you to submit a creative piece, reflective essay, scholarly article (8-14,000 words), or transcript of an interview that focuses on some dimension(s) of Black expressive culture and protest. For JAF guidelines, go to The editors are excited to consider unconventional formats for this issue; please contact JAF if you have ideas and aren’t sure if they will fit.

To submit, follow this link. The deadline is November 2, 2020.

If you have questions or encounter problems with the submission platform, please email Tanya Boucicaut (Guest Editor) and Lisa Gilman at (Editor-in-Chief).


The Journal of American Folklore (JAF), the quarterly journal of the American Folklore Society since the Society's founding in 1888, publishes scholarly articles, notes, commentaries, creative work, and reviews of books, exhibitions and events, films, sound recordings, and digital/online resources. For more information about the journal, click on


As the flagship publication of the Society, JAF reflects concerns of both academic and public members on folklore from anywhere in the world. Journal issues typically include the following: 


  • Articles present significant research findings and theoretical analyses from the disciplinary perspective of folklore.
  • Commentaries briefly address topics raised in earlier articles.
  • Notes are narrower in scope and focus on a single, often provocative, issue of definition, interpretation, or practice.
  • Reviews: Review editors typically solicit reviews, but they welcome queries from those interested in reviewing a publication/project.
  • Book Review Editor: James Deutsch, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage,
  • Exhibit and Events Review Editor:  Kelly Totten Memorial University of Newfoundland, 
  • Film and Video Review Editor: Emily Hilliard, West Virginia Folklife Program at the West Virginia Humanities Council,

  • Sound Recordings Review Editor: Langston Collin Wilkins, Center for Washington Cultural Traditions,

  • Digital Resources Review Editor: Natalie Underberg-Goode, University of Central Florida,

  • Obituaries: Please contact the Editor if you wish to write an obituary.
  • Creative work must be grounded methodologically and/or theoretically within the discipline of folklore.


How to Submit Manuscripts:

  • Online (preferred): Click on ONLINE SUBMISSION SYSTEM
  • Email: Send attachment to
  • Mail: Include digital and hard copies and send to Lisa Gilman, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of American Folklore, Folklore Program, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, MSN 3E4, Fairfax, VA. 22030-4444.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Manuscripts should not have been published elsewhere and must not be under concurrent consideration by any other journal.
  • JAF uses the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017).
  • Use Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format (rtf).
  • Begin with a 50- to 75-word abstract summarizing essential points and findings.
  • Essays should be 10,000-15,000 words, including abstract, notes, and bibliography.
  • Notes should be 8,000-10,000 words, including abstract, notes, and bibliography
  • Figures should be embedded as they would ideally be placed in the published text.
  • Photographs must be at a resolution of 300 DPI or higher and should be in TIFF format. JPG format is not accepted.
  • Line drawings, maps, and tables should be submitted in black-and-white at a resolution of 1200 DPI.
  • Authors can publish supplementary audio and visual materials on the JAF’s multimedia site, maintained jointly by the American Folklore Society and the University of Illinois Press. These materials may include still-image files, moving-image files, sound files, and other materials that enhance published articles.

Review process:

  • Submissions are evaluated first by the JAF editorial team.
  • If found appropriate, they are sent for “double blind” review to two (or more) qualified referees.
  • Outside reviews may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
  • Authors are notified when a decision has been made on whether to accept or reject a manuscript via email.
  • Acceptance may be outright or contingent on the completion of revisions.
  • Rejection may be outright or with the possibility of revision and resubmission for a new evaluation.
  • The editorial team reserves the right to reject or return for revision any material submitted on the grounds of inappropriate subject matter, quality, or length.


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