Common-place is not a traditional scholarly journal...we range across
interests and disciplines, from art history to archaeology, from politics to parlor manners.
Common-place: How to Contribute
Query First, Please
Common-place encourages contributions from scholars, educators, curators, archivists, and librarians at all stages of their careers--from graduate students to emeritus professors. Before undertaking to research and write an unsolicited piece for Common-place, however, we request that you query the Administrative Editor, Trudy Powers. By way of query, please send us a brief c.v. and a proposal of no more than one page. Ideally, your proposal should include a sample of the text itself, so that we can get a sense of your tone and style. Please send these materials as attached Microsoft Word for Windows text files.
Common-place is not a traditional scholarly journal. It differs in content: we range across interests and disciplines, from art history to archaeology, from politics to parlor manners. It differs in tone: we aim to reach a broad audience of the educated public (think Harper's or the New York Review of Books more than the American Historical Review.) Please bear these differences in mind as you craft a query to Common-place. We also strongly encourage you to consult our Style Sheet even at the query stage.
Common-place aims to be a paperless publication. If, upon acceptance of your query, we solicit a Feature or Column from you, please send the manuscript as a Microsoft Word for Windows e-mail attachment. Authors are responsible for securing photographic and other reproductions and acquiring permission to publish them on the web. Questions concerning format and graphics should be directed to the Administrative Editor. Additional information about submissions can be found on the Style Sheet.
All authors are required to complete and submit an electronic author
Review and Editorial Procedure
Just as Common-place differs in tone and content from scholarly journals, it differs in procedure. In many ways, Common-place's review and editorial processes are much more like those of a magazine. You can expect real, developmental editing as well as careful copyediting of your submission. Column manuscripts will be edited both by the Column Editor and by the Editor. Feature submissions will not be sent to anonymous peer reviewers; instead, the Editor will assign them to appropriate "mentors" from our Editorial Board to shepherd accepted articles through publication. Feature submissions, then, will be edited by an Editor and by a member of the Editorial Board. This process is very much a dialogue, in which you have the opportunity, at every stage, to respond to suggestions and changes. Once accepted by the Editors, your Column or Feature will be sent to our in-house Copy Editor, where it will be edited for conformity to house style only. You will be able to review the copyedited manuscript when it is loaded at the site, before it is available to the public. Questions about this procedure can be directed to the Administrative Editor.
Common-place's Features are lively essays designed to engage a broad audience of people interested in early American life. Features will often be based on original, primary source research ("Bad Seed: New Evidence of Rotten Grain in Salem"), but they will just as often reflect on the state of a field ("Why is There No Early American Urban Studies?") or discuss a methodological problem ("No Room of One's Own: Studying Privacy Among the Lower Sort--Whose Houses Don't Survive"). In any event, remember to write for readers interested in, and familiar with, the basic currents of early American life, but not necessarily with your own specialty, or even your own discipline.
Features can vary in length from 2500-7500 words. Submissions that take advantage of web capabilities (graphics, etc.) are especially welcome but we discourage gee-whiz computer pyrotechnics that do not add to the submission's intellectual content. As detailed in our Style Sheet, we do not publish footnotes or endnotes but will publish short bibliographic essays or suggestions for further reading.
Solicitation of a Feature submission based on a query does not guarantee acceptance for publication. Please see the Review and Editorial Procedure section above. If your submission receives a recommendation, it is accepted for publication and you will be contacted about copyediting and copyright.
Column submissions should be approximately one thousand words (some Reviews will be longer), and should be sent to the Administrative Editor, who will send them to be reviewed by the appropriate Column Editor, who will make a recommendation to the Editors. If your submission is accepted for publication, you will be contacted about copyediting and copyright.
Common-place's Reviews aim to go beyond assessments of historical monographs to consider a wider range of styles and genres of thinking about the early American past. In each issue, two to three reviews will explore recent works of history, fiction, film, television, or electronic media. If you wish to contribute a review, please contact the Administrative Editor, who will forward your correspondence to Reviews Editors Joshua R. Greenberg and Yvette Piggush.
Ask the Author
Ask the Author is a "mini-interview" in which prominent authors of recent works of history, fiction, or journalism answer a question from Common-place about their work. Thus we might ask Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic, to speculate about why there are no Mexican-American War re-enactors. If you have suggestions for authors and/or questions, please e-mail Administrative Editor, who will forward your correspondence to Column Editor Jeannine DeLombard.
Common Reading invites authors to discuss a book or books—old or new, good or not so good—that, for some reason, have influenced their thinking. Longer and more in-depth than an ordinary book review, it gives authors a chance to delve deeply into other's writings about the past. Suggestions and queries
about Common Reading should be directed to the Administrative Editor, who will forward them to Column Editor Mark
The Common School
The Common School is a forum for a schoolteacher or professor to talk about how to teach early American history. Teacher-authors might relate a particularly inspiring or troubling classroom experience (e.g., "What Happens When High Schoolers Role-Play Slavery?"), or describe an especially useful writing or reading assignment from their courses. Teachers with queries regarding Common School submissions should contact our Administrative Editor, who will forward your correspondence to Column Editors Darcy R. Fryer and Charles L. Newhall.
Poetic Research features the work of a poet whose creative process
involves in-depth research in American history. Along with their poems,
authors present their creative research process in a Statement of Poetic
Research. Statements might describe a specific archival exploration, or
take a lyrical approach to communicating the nuances of integrating
source material with artistic method. Queries regarding Poetic Research
submissions should include 3-7 poems and a brief description of the
poet's research process; our Administrative Editor will forward your
correspondence to the Column Editor Robert Strong.
Object Lessons allows curators and scholars of material culture to introduce a new exhibit of images, objects, or artifacts, or ponder a curatorial issue, such as the archaeological problems and possibilities unearthed by Boston's "Big Dig." Those with queries about Object Lessons topics should contact our Administrative Editor, who will forward your correspondence to Column Editor David
Named after the first American newspaper, published in Boston and shut down by the Puritan authorities after one issue in 1690, "Publick Occurrences" is an occasional column devoted to what might be called historical punditry: lively, personal essays bringing early American history to bear on present-day political affairs. While the emphasis will be on placing current issues in broad historical perspective, the column will also assess some of the early American historical references that appear frequently in today's political speeches and reportage. We will try to keep the past usable, but ensure that it is used responsibly. Jeffrey L. Pasley, present historian and former journalist and speechwriter, will write the column with occasional guests. Please send your suggestions about topics, queries about guest columns, and historical howlers Administrative Editor, who will forward them to Jeff.
Tales from the Vault
Tales from the Vault brings the perspective of an archivist librarian or researcher to each issue of Common-place. An author might describe a repository's recent acquisition, introduce an important new electronic resource or published reference, or analyze an archival problem such as "What's Left in Our Nation's Attics." Columns might also track a researcher's hunt through the archives and his or her "unexpected finds." Queries regarding Tales from the Vault should go to our Administrative Editor, who will forward your correspondence to Column Editor Susan Schoelwer.
The Common-place Web Library reviews and lists online resources and Websites likely to be of interest to our viewers. Each quarterly issue will feature one or more brief site reviews. The library itself will be an ongoing enterprise with regular new additions and amendments. If you have suggestions for the Web Library, or for site reviews, please forward them to the Administrative Editor who will forward them to Patricia Cleary, the Web Library column editor.