American Quarterly represents innovative interdisciplinary scholarship that engages with key issues in American studies. By publishing reviews of books, exhibitions, and diverse media, the journal seeks to make available the broad range of emergent approaches to American studies. Out of the many books published every year, we select a small number for review because of the importance of their topics, methods, and theories for scholars working within the American studies tradition.
American Quarterly publishes 4-6 book reviews in each issue, with the exception of Special Issues, in which the guest editors may choose to include reviews on books relevant to the theme. These reviews, which typically consider multiple books, are designed to provide an in-depth discussion of the current literature of the field of American studies, broadly defined, and to discuss recent books in relation to the key issues of the field. Reviews are up to 5,000 words, including notes.
Book reviews should be addressed to a broad readership of scholars from diverse disciplinary perspectives. They should announce and evaluate important developments and trends in scholarly work about American culture as a means of helping American studies scholars learn effectively from each other. It is our hope that the American Quarterly book review essay section will serve as a dynamic forum in which a wide variety of concerns and changes in the field are discussed in depth through the consideration of new and thought provoking work in the field.
Reviewers have the responsibility to summarize authors’ arguments fairly and accurately, to locate books under review within a broad scholarly context, and to emphasize the theoretical and methodological implications of any given work for future research in American studies. While reviewers have the right to make normative judgments about books under review, personal attacks, ridicule, and distortion are not acceptable. The primary purpose of the book review section, in our view, is to foster a respectful and rigorous scholarly dialogue, rather than to deliver personal judgments or disagreements.
All book review essays are commissioned. A potential reviewer may propose a book review by sending a one-page proposal and a current CV to the book review editor via email. The book review editor will review the proposal in light of reviews already commissioned and may suggest alterations accordingly. All reviewers commissioned to write a review will be required to submit a statement noting any connection they have to the authors under review.
Reviewers should title their review. In addition, each review should cite the title, author, place of publication and publisher, year, number of pages, and price, including both the cloth and soft cover prices if a paperback is available, of each book in the review. For example:
Spaces of Hope. By David Harvey. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. 293 pages. $24.95 (cloth). $17.95 (paper).
Reviewers should also include a short biography that will appear on the Contributors page of the journal. For example: Eric Schocket teaches American literature at Hampshire College and writes on class issues in American culture.
Book review text should be in 12-point Times New Roman font. Everything, including footnotes and block quotes, should be double-spaced. Please format your manuscript using Chicago Manual of Style’s 16th edition.
Please see our Author Guidelines for general formatting instructions.