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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).

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The Journal of American Folklore (JAF), has been the quarterly journal of the American Folklore Society (AFS) since its founding in 1888. The journal publishes four times a year: April, July, October, and January. For more information about the journal, click on


As the flagship publication of the American Folklore Society, JAF engages academic and public folklore from anywhere in the world through a wide range of materials, including blind peer reviewed scholarly articles and perspective pieces that engage with the broad field of folklore across academic, public, and applied work.


In its commitment to inclusion, equity, and social justice, JAF invites contributions that critically engage issues associated with race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, ability, religion, and citizenship.


Each issue includes pieces of varying lengths and formats grounded in the scholarship, methods, and theoretical approaches from the disciplinary perspective of folklore. We welcome innovative content. Please contact editors if you have ideas for unconventional formats.


ARTICLES (blind peer reviewed)

  • Long Essays that present significant research findings and theoretical analyses from the disciplinary perspective of folklore. Length: 8,000–14,000 words, including abstract, notes, and bibliography. Articles should begin with a 50- to 75-word abstract summarizing essential points and findings and keywords from the AFS Ethnographic Thesaurus.
  • Short Essays from the disciplinary perspective of folklore narrower in scope that focus on a single issue of definition, interpretation, method, or practice. Length: 3,000–5,000 words, including abstract, notes, and bibliography. Essays should begin with a 50- to 75-word abstract summarizing essential points and findings and keywords from the AFS Ethnographic Thesaurus

Each issue typically includes one or more shorter pieces from the disciplinary perspective of folklore that are flexible and open to format. Submissions
in this section are blind peer reviewed, though exceptions can be made if peer review is not appropriate. Authors interested in submitting a perspectives piece are encouraged to communicate with the editorial team. Some options include:

  • Commentaries: short essays in dialogue with topics raised in earlier articles.
  • Interviews: interviews with professional or cultural practitioners relevant to the field, or transcripts of conversations between 2–3 experts around a specific topic.
  • Dialogs: Two or more short essays curated to engage with a critical question, method, or theoretical debate.
  • Profiles: A profile of an individual or a project significant to the field.
  • Engaging the Past: Republication of essays previously published in JAF that deserve renewed attention. This column was created in recognition that scholarship by authors of color, women, and other marginalized groups do not always receive the attention they deserve. In addition, at times, there is renewed interest in debates or materials from past publication that makes republication valuable. We invite contributors to suggest articles for republication with the option of writing an essay in dialog with the original piece. We also invite review essays of past publication(s) (without publishing the original article).
  • Creative work: Creative work in printable formats (e.g., written, photos, comics, etc.) that is grounded methodologically and/or theoretically within the field of folklore. Please contact the editors if you have ideas for creative work content or format.


BOOK REVIEWSReview editors typically solicit reviews, but they welcome queries from those interested in reviewing a publication. Book Review EditorJames Deutsch, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage,


FEATURED AND REVIEWED PROJECTS: This section is an opportunity to review or showcase audio recordings, exhibits, festivals, films/videos, events, performances, and digital resources produced by or of interest to folklore practitioners and professionals. Contributions can be written by producers or a project or third parties. To contribute, please contact the editor listed prior to submitting. Photo essays and other creative formats are welcome.

OBITUARIES: Please contact the Editor if you wish to write an obituary.


  • 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. [During COVID Pandemic, contact editor for home address]

Submission Guidelines:

  • Manuscripts should not have been published elsewhere and must not be under concurrent consideration by any other journal.
  • Use Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format (rtf).
  • JAF uses the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017). Available online at
  • Digital images must be of sufficient quality for print reproduction. TIF files are preferred and encouraged for optimal print reproduction, but we may accept JPG, GIF, or EPS. Resolution must be at least 300 dots per inch (dpi).
  • Digital files must not be embedded in the text document. Submit as separate files, and "callouts" should indicate where illustrative materials are to appear within the text, e.g.: <INSERT FIGURE 1 NEAR HERE>. Callouts should be placed on a separate line at the end of the paragraph closest to where you'd like the image to appear.
  • 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) referees.
  • Outside reviews may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
  • When a decision has been made on whether to accept or reject a manuscript, authors are notified via email.
  • Acceptance is outright or contingent on the completion of revisions.
  • Rejection is outright or with the option 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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