Research in African Literatures

Research in African Literatures, founded in 1970, is the premier journal of African literary studies worldwide and provides a forum in English for research on the oral and written literatures of Africa. In addition to thought-provoking essays, reviews of current scholarly books appear in every issue, often presented as critical essays, and a forum offers readers the opportunity to respond to issues raised in articles and book reviews. Thematic clusters of articles and frequent special issues reveal the broad interests of its readership.

Journal Details

  • Frequency: quarterly
  • ISSN: 0034-5210
  • eISSN: 1527-2044
  • Keywords: African Culture, African Literature, African Studies, Arts & Culture, Literary Studies, Modern Literature, Narratives, Poetry, Secularism, Theology
  • First Issue: Volume 1, number 1 (1970)

Additional Information

Editorial Details

Editorial Office Contact Information
Research in African Literatures
The Ohio State University
486 University Hall
230 N. Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210

  • Kwaku Larbi Korang (The Ohio State University)
Associate Editors
  • Adélékè Adéèkó (The Ohio State University)
  • Cheik Thiam (The Ohio State University)
Managing Editor
  • Molly Reinhoudt
Past Editors
  • Bernth Lindfors (The University of Texas, Austin, 1970-89)
  • Richard Bjornson (The Ohio State University, 1990-92)
  • F. Abiola Irele (The Ohio State University, 1992-2003)
  • John Conteh-Morgan (The Ohio State University, 2003-08)
Advisory Board
  • Pius Adesanmi (Carleton University, Canada)
  • Susan Z. Andrade (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Kofi Anyidoho (Universitiy of Ghana)
  • Rita Barnard (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Carine Bourget (University of Arizona)
  • Laura Chrisman (University of Washington)
  • J. Michael Dash (New York University)
  • Gaurav Desai (Tulane University)
  • Simon Gikandi (Princeton University)
  • Russell Hamilton (Vanderbilt University)
  • Kenneth W. Harrow (Michigan State University)
  • Waïl Hassan (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
  • Anthonia Kalu (The Ohio State University)
  • Catherine Kroll (Sonoma State University)
  • Ruthmarie H. Mitsch (Managing Editor, RAL, 1989-2012)
  • Lydie Moudileno (University of Pennsylvania)
  • H. Adlai Murdoch (Tufts University)
  • Patrice Nganang (Stony Brook University)
  • Obioma Nnaemeka (Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis)
  • Isidore Okpewho (SUNY-Binghamton)
  • Tejumola Olaniyan (University of Wisconsin)
  • Anjali Prabhu (Wellesley College)
  • Ato Quayson (University of Toronto)
  • Micheline Rice-Maximin (Swarthmore College)

Submission Info

The editor invites submission of original, previously unpublished article-length manuscripts (not exceeding 35 pages in length). Articles that have been published elsewhere in any form, version, or language cannot be considered for publication, including those that are available on the Internet. Manuscripts may be submitted in English, French, or other languages, but they will generally be published in English. “Blind” copies of articles that are formatted according to the RAL house style should be sent, along with an accompanying cover letter

Research in African Literatures will not send out for review any articles that are under consideration elsewhere, nor will we consider multiple submissions by the same author. Authors of articles that have been accepted for publication will be required to sign a consent-to-publish form, which is an agreement vesting copyright in Indiana University Press.

RAL follows the MLA Style Manual, 3rd ed. (2008). Chapters 6 and 7 offer documentation and bibliographic information, including web publications, television or radio broadcasts, film and video recordings, and other common sources in addition to periodical and nonperiodical print publications. Please note that articles that do not conform to our house style may be returned to the author before being considered for publication.

  1. Manuscripts should be submitted as email attachments, preferably as Word files (.doc or .docx), be double-spaced, use a 12-point standard font (e.g., Times New Roman), and have one inch margins
  2. In addition, the article must include (1) a 150-word abstract and (2) a list of works cited, following the MLA Style Manual bibliography guidelines.
  3. Include all endnotes (if used) as a separate file. Do not use word processor features that embed notes as footnotes or endnotes. Note numbers should be prepared as Arabic numerals in superscript and normally occur at the end of a sentence, not following an author’s name.
  4. All images must be submitted in electronic files, as PDFs or JPGs. (Large electronic files may be sent through a file-sharing service, such as Dropbox or Box). It will be the responsibility of the author to secure permission to reprint copyrighted images or texts.
  5. Do not center or fully justify your text—all text should be left-justified. Paragraph indentations should be tabbed at five spaces. Do not enter carriage returns within paragraphs, especially for indented quotations, where you should set new margins.
  6. Use American spellings and punctuation except when quoting from a source that has used British style. All punctuation except colons and semicolons is placed inside quotation marks. Single quotes are used only for quotes within quotes; otherwise, double quotation marks are to be used.
  7. Provide translations (your own—or the standard, if there is a printed translation available) of all material in languages other than English. The translations should be incorporated into the text, following the foreign term or foreign selection.
  8. Please pay particular attention to the following matters of punctuation:
    1. Apostrophes: All singular proper nouns, including the names of persons and places, form their possessives in the same manner (Mars’s wrath, Camus’s novel, Kansas’s weather, Dickens’s reputation; but the Dickenses’ economic woes). See Section 3.4.7.
    2. Colons: Skip one space only, not two. In separating a title and subtitle of a book, use a colon.
    3. Periods: Skip one space only (not two) after all periods, semicolons, and commas.
    4. Commas: Always use a comma before all coordinating conjunctions in a series of three or more items and always after “i.e.” and “e.g.” See also MLA Style Manual section 3.4.2.
    5. Hyphens: Do not use spaces before or after hyphens.
    6. Em-dashes: Prepare in electronic file as two hyphens with no space before or after hyphens (“natural—instead of chosen—alliances”). Typesetters will convert the hyphens to em-dashes (“natural—instead of chosen—alliances”).
  9. When you quote from or refer to a text, do not, as a rule, use endnotes, but follow the MLA Style Manual directions for in-text, parenthetical documentation. Please note that we do not use an author-date reference system and that specific pages must be given for all quotes. A complete range of pages must be provided for all articles or book chapters listed in the works cited. All works cited in the body of the essay and in endnotes must appear, with full bibliographic details, in the list of works cited. Endnotes should only be used to provide explanatory materials that would be cumbersome in the text itself. See MLA Style Manual section 4.1.
  10. Gender-specific terms should not be used to refer to mixed groups or to personify such groups as male (e.g., do not refer to “the reader and his background”).
  11. The following are examples of the format for works cited (taken from MLA Style Manual, 3rd ed.):
    • Chan, Evans. “Postmodernism and Hong Kong Cinema.” Postmodern Culture 10.3 (2000): n. pag. Project Muse. Web. 20 May 2002.
    • “Death of a Writer.” Editorial. New York Times 20 Apr. 1994, late ed.: A18. Print.
    • Durant, Will, and Ariel Durant. The Age of Voltaire. New York: Simon, 1965. Print. Vol. 9 of The Story of Civilization. 11 vols. 1933–75.
    • ———. A Dual Autobiography. New York: Simon, 1977. Print.
    • Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven: Yale UP, 1979. Print.
    • Kurosawa, Akora, dir. Rashomon. Perf. Toshira Mifune. Daiei, 1950. Film.
    • Litvak, Joseph. “The Aesthetics of Jewishness: Shelley Winters.” Aesthetic Subjects. Ed. Pamela R. Matthews and David McWhirter. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2003. 153–70. Print.

For further examples, please consult the MLA Style Manual and recent numbers of RAL.

Abstract & Index

  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index
  • Current Bibliography on African Affairs
  • Current Contents: Arts & Humanities
  • Documentatieblad
  • EBSCO Academic Search Premier
  • EBSCO Current Abstracts
  • EBSCO Current Citations Express
  • EBSCO Humanities International Complete
  • EBSCO Humanities International Index
  • EBSCO Sociological Collection
  • Humanities Index
  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities
  • Linguistic and Language Behavior Abstracts
  • ProQuest Discovery
  • ProQuest Ethic Newswatch
  • ProQuest International Index to Black Periodicals (IIBP)
  • ProQuest Literature Online (LION)
  • ProQuest News and Magazines
  • ProQuest Research Library
  • Social Sciences Citation Index
  • Sociological Abstracts
  • Wilson Omnifile